Bryson DeChambeau is back to his “calculated” ways on the PGA Tour.
One of the many new rules set forth by the USGA and R&A for the 2019 season is the ability to putt with the flagstick in and DeChambeau believes it is very beneficial to him.
DeChambeau opened the Sentry Tournament of Champions with an opening round 69 that put him in a tie for sixth.
When asked after his opening round how he felt leaving the stick in went, DeChambeau gave a fairly non-analytical response.
“Yeah, I feel like I maximized my potential on that, especially on 16 today, where it’s kind of blowing downwind, five percent slope, straight down hill you want that pin to help. So that’s what I kind of did and utilized it to my advantage. So I felt like for the most part I needed the pin to be in and it went in and it was a very nice help.”
When asked how many putts he’s practiced with the stick in, DeChambeau continued:
“Maybe 20 putts, that’s it. Nothing crazy. It’s not difficult. People make it too complicated. I’ve used some devices that have put it at different speeds and I’m still hitting it two feet by, just like you would normally if it doesn’t go in the hole, but I think every once in a while if I accidentally hit it to three feet by and I do push it or pull it that much I really think like on, let’s see, what was it, 14, I kind of pushed it a little bit and it went in the right side and if I hit it a little harder it may lip out, but instead it hit the flag and went in easily. So it’s totally situational, still liquid, I’m still learning, under competition, when it’s the right thing to do. Look, I’m going to be courteous to the player I’m playing with as well, I’m not going to try and be, oh, I need to put it back in every time. I’m not going to be one of those guys, that’s not me. I’m trying to be courteous to all the players out here and respectful. So that’s my opinion on it, thought on it, and it’s been a help so far.”
It remains to be seen whether or not the new rule will be used by many players to the extent that DeChambeau plans on using it considering having the pin in does make the hole slightly smaller and although the reasoning for leaving the stick in makes sense, it is hard to change the way you’ve seen something your entire life.
Justin Thomas, who is currently in a tie for second, said prior to the tournament that he won’t be able to take himself seriously if he leaves the flagstick in.
“I mean personally I don’t think I can – I mean obviously whenever I’m like this and (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) is, that’s one thing. But I mean if I have an 8-footer to win a golf tournament, I can’t – I mean no offense, I can’t really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in. I mean it just would be such a weird picture and like on TV me celebrating and like the pin is in and my ball’s like up against it. And so I don’t know, to me that’s one thing. But, yeah, I guess there’s some instances in tournaments where the pin is really the only thing that can stop it, that’s one thing. But if I have a putt, I’m trying to make that thing’s coming out.”
For what it’s worth, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee agrees with DeChambeau.
This season is going to be quite interesting.
[Quotes via ASAP Sports]