USGA says DeChambeau’s compass is against the rule
At the Travelers Championship, cameras caught Bryson DeChambeau using a drawing compass during his third round at TPC River Highlands.
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.”
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.
After initially giving DeChambeau the go-ahead, the PGA Tour and USGA have changed their minds, deciding the compass is against the rules.
“The USGA has ruled that the use of a protractor (also known as a drawing compass) during a stipulated round is a violation of Rule 14-3a of the Rules of Golf,” read a statement from the PGA Tour to players. “It is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’”
John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships & Governance, had a 45 minutes meeting with DeChambeau on July 3 explaining the association’s decision-making process regarding the use of the compass.
“With some of these sorts of devices, it can be difficult lines to draw on what’s permissible and what is not permissible,” Bodenhamer said. “But here, we drew the line there with Rule 14-3 [that the compass did not conform].
“I’ve got to be honest with you, Bryson is amazing. We had a great discussion. We applaud his innovation. He always is on the cutting edge. And I think we need to be talking with him more often to get a sense of how technology can be used by players. I think we’ll see him continue to push things to make himself better and we applaud that.”
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