Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass, the math kind, not the kind that tells you which way North is, during play on the PGA Tour has come to an abrupt end.
After cameras spotted DeChambeau using the device at the Travelers Championship, the USGA informed him that they would look into whether his use of the device during play assisted him in any way.
“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.'”
Unfortunately for Bryson, the USGA actually read their own rules and made the right decision.
“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.|
Now, as a casual onlooker you may be wondering what the big deal is because it is a very old tool and it’s not like he’s out there with a range finder. The rules clearly state that the use of any tool that assists in distance cannot be used during play.
The part that applies in this instance is listed under “b,” which states, “For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance.”
That is exactly what Bryson was doing with the compass according to what he told media after his round.
“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.”
So, there you have it, the USGA can interpret their rules correctly when it comes to the use of a tool that was invented by Gallileo in the 1500’s, but they don’t know that hitting a moving golf ball in the opposite direction is actually deflecting it.