During last month’s Travelers Championship, Bryson DeChambeau was spotted using a type of compass to mark hole locations in his greens book.
After consulting with the USGA, the PGA Tour initially ruled that DeChambeau could continue using it because the Rules of Golf do not address its use, but this week the USGA informed players they had reversed that decision.
“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,” according to a statement sent to players. “It is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’”
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Although he declined to comment on this week’s ruling, DeChambeau told reporters at the Travelers Championship that he used the device to more accurately determine hole locations.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”
The USGA released a statement to GolfChannel.com: “At the request of the PGA Tour, the USGA and the R&A reviewed Bryson DeChambeau’s stated use of a drawing compass to assist him in determining ‘true’ hole locations, and jointly determined that his specific usage would be in breach of Rule 14-3, if used in a future round.
“The Rule prohibits a player, during a stipulated round, from using any artificial device or unusual equipment, or using any equipment in an abnormal manner, that ‘might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’ Because a compass is not a usual piece of equipment in golf, and Bryson clearly stated that he had used the device to assist him, the USGA, R&A and the PGA Tour agreed it was in the best interest of the game to share this determination with Bryson immediately. In doing so before his next round, we have made every effort to assist Bryson in avoiding possible disqualification and provide clarity to the PGA Tour and other players in the field.”
This isn’t the first time DeChambeau has been involved in a rules decision. In 2017, the USGA ruled that a sidesaddle-style putter DeChambeau had been using was non-conforming.