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Once again, PGA Tour inhibits golfing mad scientist Bryson DeChambeau

The PGA Tour ruled Bryson DeChambeau’s hole-marking device was a violation of rules. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Weeks ago, at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut, Bryson DeChambeau walked the golf course with a compass, marking hole locations in his greens book.

At the time, the PGA Tour ruled DeChambeau could use this device — which DeChambeau said he’s used for two years — because the Rules of Golf did not address its use. 

But not anymore.

Ahead of Thursday’s Greenbrier Classic, the Tour released a statement, referencing the compass. Once again, the PGA Tour has inhibited golf’s mad scientist.

“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.’”


For years, DeChambeau has challenged norms — both in the game of golf and in life. He was a physics major at Southern Methodist University, and he has used an analytical and scientific approach to gain an advantage since turning professional in 2016.

When DeChambeau was 15 years old, he read the book, “The Golfing Machine,” which sparked his curiosity and ignited his confidence.

“I think I can change the game of golf,” he told his father then.

After reading the book, DeChambeau asked a number of questions. One, in particular, revolved around the length of golf clubs. Typically, the lower the club number, the longer the club. DeChambeau wondered why, and why all clubs could not be the same length?

Ultimately, those questions — as well as DeChambeau’s obsession physics, which he studied at Southern Methodist University — resulted in DeChambeau constructing a set of same-length golf clubs.

And while DeChambeau still uses that set of clubs on on Tour today, he has had to adjust other elements to his game, especially as it relates to his putter.

In December 2016, DeChambeau experimented with an unconventional putting method called the side-saddle.

Initially, the PGA Tour ruled this putting method was okay. But then, the PGA Tour overruled its initial ruling as non-confirming, just like it did with the compass. DeChambeau declined to speak about the most recent ruling ahead of Thursday.

But one thing is clear.

Golf’s mad scientist will continue to work his physics brain to gain an advantage for as long as he competes in the sport.

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