Rule and PGA Tour updates on DeChambeau’s issue
DeChambeau’s use of a compass during the third round of the Travelers Championship caught an eye of the PGA Tour and a whole lot of social media.
Rules officials approached DeChambeau about the device on the range following his round at Saturday at TPC River Highlands, and according to him, they are going to get back to him next week, regarding the issue.
“They said we just want to let you know we’re investigating this device and seeing if it’s allowable or not,” DeChambeau said Sunday following a two-under 68 to tie for ninth in the tournament. “It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”
In 2017, PGA TOUR officials told DeChambeau that they were consulting the USGA regarding whether the center-shafted putter he was using conformed to The Rule of Golf.
It also wasn’t the first time DeChambeau has used the device, he said, noting that he has been so since the 2016 PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas.
“It’s been used for a long, long time,” DeChambeau said. “People are saying it’s an unusual device, that’s at least what the tour’s saying.
“It’s funny people take notice when you start playing well.”
When asked, what does he uses it for?
“Figuring out true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are a little bit off every once in a while, so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot.”
Which raises a question: What rule is DeChambeau breaking here?
The law in play is Rule 14-3, which bans the use of any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play. This prohibits players from using items like rangefinders that have activated a feature that calculates the affect of slope on distance. Also, outlined in Appendix IV, under Rule 14-3, an artificial device is not allowed if it provides “recommendations that might assist the player in making a stroke or in his play [e.g., club selection, type of shot to be played, green reading or any other advice related matter].”
So, do we conclude that DeChambeau is guilty? Not necessarily.
The Rules of Golf specifically addresses compass use – USGA Rules and Decisions
Q. A player uses a compass during a stipulated round to help determine the direction of the wind or the direction of the grain in the greens. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-3?
A. No. A compass only provides directional information and does not gauge or measure variable conditions or assist the player in his play.
Last May, the USGA, and R&A released a joint statement that the entities will be investigating the legality of green-reading materials. But a change was not reflected in the revised Rules of Golf set to get in effect in 2019, it remains an issue the bodies want to address.
The TOUR sent the following update to DeChambeau following its investigation on his compass use at the Travelers Championship:
“Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass to make notations on exact hole location in his greens book came to light during Saturday’s round at the Travelers Championship, and PGA Tour Rules Officials met with Bryson after the round. After consulting with the USGA, there is no clear precedent on the use of a compass in this manner and it is not currently prohibited under the Rules of Golf. The USGA is reviewing the matter, with our feedback, and is expected to make a ruling on its conformity with the Rules soon.”