Bryson DeChambeau said Wednesday that he does not regret declining to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, despite developing a case of covid-19 that caused him to lose around 10 pounds and miss out on representing the United States in the Olympics.

The 27-year-old major winner told reporters Wednesday that being vaccinated “doesn’t necessarily prevent it from happening,” referring to possibly contracting the coronavirus. Speaking in Memphis, the site of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, DeChambeau asserted that he would “rather give [the vaccine] to people who need it.”

“I don’t need it,” said DeChambeau, who tested positive shortly before he was set to travel to Tokyo. “I’m a healthy, young individual that will continue to work on my health. I don’t think taking the vaccine away from someone who needs it is a good thing. My dad is a perfect example. He got [the vaccine] early on because he’s a diabetic. People like that need to get it. My mom got it. I don’t want to take away that ability.”

DeChambeau added that “as time goes on,” he would be amenable to getting vaccinated “if it is mainstream, really, really mainstream.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no shortage of any vaccine in the United States, where 70.2 percent of American adults are at least partially vaccinated against the coronavirus, and 165.3 million people are fully vaccinated.

In the wake of the emergence of the highly contagious delta variant, the CDC recently released information showing that rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths are far higher among unvaccinated people than they are among those who have been inoculated.

DeChambeau said that after subsequent testing confirmed his initial result was not a false positive, he did not experience any ill effects for a couple of days but then “started to feel tired.” He slept “all the time,” felt weaker, suffered through “a few coughing spurts” one day and ultimately lost 8 to 10 pounds over two weeks.

DeChambeau also revealed that since his positive test, he has been struggling with allergies.

“I tried to take all the necessary precautions to not get contracted,” he said. “I don’t know where I got it, how I got it, I was just home in Dallas and it was in the air.”

Having famously bulked up to increase his swing speed, the 2020 U.S. Open winner said he thought he had lost a few miles per hour because of his coronavirus case. After starting to feel better a few days ago while also testing negative again, he traveled to Memphis for the PGA event there but was “not really expecting much.”

“I’m just going out here and trying to get through the week and feel comfortable, and then do it again,” DeChambeau said. “Maybe lower expectations will help me this week.”

At the Olympics, DeChambeau was replaced on Team USA by Patrick Reed. Fellow American Xander Schauffele won the gold medal Sunday in the men’s individual event.

DeChambeau said he “loved” the Olympics and hopes to compete at the 2024 Games in Paris. Asked what it felt like to watch the golf event from afar, though, he replied, “I didn’t feel anything because I wasn’t playing in it.”

“It was sad when I tested positive,” DeChambeau said. “And then after that, my brain just shifted into a place where, okay, I wasn’t in the Olympics. It is what it is.”

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