The USGA have ruled to disallow Byrson DeChambeau's use of a protractor (or drawing compass) to determine hole locations in future tournaments after he was spotted using it at the Travelers Championship
It's bad news if you'd ever had the notion to follow in Byrson DeChambeau's footsteps and get out a protractor to help you figure out pin locations.
Unsurprisingly, the PGA Tour were initially unsure how to treat Bryson DeChambeau using a drawing compass during the Travelers Championship, as the Rules of Golf do not have any particular rule to outlaw its use.
When asked about it, DeChambeau had clarified to reporters in Connecticut that he used the protractor to check pin positions were correct.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau had 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.”
After first allowing DeChambeau to continue using it, there have since been further discussions and according to a Golf Channel report from Rex Hoggard a statement was sent to players to inform them that using the compass would be a violation of Rule 14-3.
"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," the statement sent to players said. "It is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play."
In a further statement released to Golf Channel they clairfied their new position further - ruling out the use of the 'unusual equipment' on account of him admitting its use was to aid him on the course.
“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.”
John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of rules, competitions and equipment standards, told Golf Digest that he had determined after a 45-minute chat with DeChambeau that the protractor had the potential to 'compromise a player's skill and judgement.'
“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.”