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USGA tells Bryson DeChambeau’s his compass violates Rule 14-3a



Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass (in conjunction with his yardage book to find “true hole locations”) at last month’s Travelers Championship was initially a source of amusement in the social media sphere.

Then, the situation became anything but funny for DeChambeau himself, as the PGA Tour and USGA began a discussion about potential rules being broken and whether he ought to be able to continue to to use the device.

The PGA Tour had temporarily given DeChambeau permission to use the device while putting the ball in the USGA’s court. Yesterday, the USGA announced DeChambeau’s compass use is a violation of Rule 14-3a.

The USGA released a statement to “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.”

According to Golf Digest’s Joel Beall writes, John Bodenhamer, USGA senior managing director of rules, competitions and equipment standards, spoke with DeChambeau for 45 minutes on July 3.

“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.”

The text of Rule 14-3a states

14-3. Artificial Devices and Unusual Equipment; Abnormal Use of Equipment

Rule 14-3 governs the use of equipment and devices (including electronic devices) that might assist a player in making a specific stroke or generally in his play.

Golf is a challenging game in which success should depend on the judgement, skills and abilities of the player. This principle guides the USGA in determining whether the use of any item is in breach of Rule 14-3.

Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an abnormal manner:

a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play

This is DeChambeau’s second run-in with U.S. golf’s governing body. In 2017, the USGA ruled DeChambeau’s sidesaddle putter non-conforming.

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  1. Ell

    Jul 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    My required fields were marked!

  2. Man

    Jul 9, 2018 at 2:18 am

    I will have a GPS tracker plugged into my brain that tells me from the Google maps GPS satellite where I am standing on the planet

  3. Bob Parson Jr.

    Jul 8, 2018 at 11:39 am

    And the USGA wonders why their membership is in decline…..

  4. Daniel Whitehurst

    Jul 8, 2018 at 1:39 am

    So he’s trying to find the true hole location. So he obviously found a discrepancy between the hole sheet and the actual location. So how is it an advantage if he finds the true location? It would be a disadvantage to not try to find it. Way to go USGA using common sense again in rules decisions. The next decision you make just do the opposite and all will be good. You’re welcome

  5. Bruce Ferguson

    Jul 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Whatever frivolous advantage in knowledge he might gain regarding the true hole location, he still has to make the shot. Excessive hair-splitting in the rules department, IMO.

  6. Pete O'Tube

    Jul 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Have a look at the putt, your first look is the best. Then just hit it for goodness sake. Bin the encyclopedias in the back pocket and GET ON WITH IT!!

  7. Richard Douglas

    Jul 7, 2018 at 10:44 am

    There’s a prominent player on Tour who keeps a strip of white medical tape on a particular finger. This shows the player where his hand is on the grip. This sort of alignment tool for the grip is against the rules, yet this player’s use of it has been tolerated for more than 2 decades.

    • Daniel Whitehurst

      Jul 8, 2018 at 1:34 am

      If your referring to Tiger you couldn’t be more wrong. 1 he does that because that’s his high pressure point on his right hand and 2 not 1 good player with a good grip or pro needs a piece of tape on his hand to tell him where to grip the club, gimmie a break . That’s why they “allow it”. Plus grips come available with ridges up the back called reminders.

    • OninTwoDowninOne

      Jul 8, 2018 at 2:22 am

      Richard…yep. What an Richard comment. A pro needs tape on a finger to determine hand placement, does it work for you?

  8. Josh

    Jul 7, 2018 at 1:33 am


  9. Wiger Toods

    Jul 6, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    Also, did no one call them out for the awful quote, “…it can be difficult lines to draw on what’s permissible…”


  10. Wiger Toods

    Jul 6, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    I hope he ties two pencils together. This is an absolute crock. Bryson, get a super-bendy two sided pencil!!

    Google “Bencil”

  11. Brad

    Jul 6, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    The USGA hates Bryson Dechambeau. They hate that he is playing well and will take every opportunity to undermine him anyway they possibly can. If Tiger Woods wanted to use an abacus and measuring tape on the greens they would probably allow him to do so.

  12. JN

    Jul 6, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    No looking at the sun either!

  13. Fingers

    Jul 6, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    So is it now illegal to walk off yardages if a person knows what a 1 yard stride is or if someone wants to get real technical and their shoe is exactly 12″ are they banned from using that as a measuring device too? Im asking for a friend…. And does plumbobbing fall under this measuring device rule too?

  14. Roy

    Jul 6, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    So a book that details every possible break in the green is legal, but 2 6 inch metal sticks stuck together are not???

  15. Jeff

    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    This is just silly. The USGA is tripping. You still have to putt the ball. If a protractor is a helpful with green reading, putting stroke or getting my ball started on line then I would understand the ban but come on.

  16. Ray

    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    There goes my green lantern secret decoder ring and my use of the North Star…seems the USGA can prohibit any and everything with the language unusual…they are as ridiculous as the NCAA…

  17. Jamie

    Jul 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Guess we won’t get to see the gyroscope to measure the earth’s rotation. Whew! A few hundred people would have laughed themselves to death.

  18. Adam

    Jul 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Why do I have the feeling DeChambeau is/was trolling the USGA just to see what their idiotic response would be?

    • Richard Douglas

      Jul 7, 2018 at 10:47 am

      This is an excellent observation/speculation. I still haven’t heard what the real use of this object is–saying it’s for locating pin locations is an inadequate (and nonsensical) explanation.

      The only problem with this hypothesis is that it would take a very long time for anyone at the USGA to wake up and notice its use; Bryson would have to troll them for quite some time. Hard to imagine spending time on a practical joke when he’s trying (and succeeding) to win tournaments. Still….

  19. JJD

    Jul 6, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Next up… star charts.

  20. Brian

    Jul 6, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I’m surprised DeChambeau hasn’t brought in survey equipment at this point.

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Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic



Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship



Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 60x

3-wood: Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X

Irons: Callaway X Forged Utility Irons (18, 21, 24 degrees), Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged PW (48 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter: Odyssey Prototype (Stroke Lab)

Ball: Chrome Soft X

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Danny Willett spotted with new Odyssey prototype putter, putter shaft



You may have seen Danny Willett’s name near the top of the leaderboard at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. At 10 under, the Englishman sits one stroke behind fellow countryman Matt Wallace.

You may not have seen, however, that the 2016 Masters champ has a new Odyssey prototype putter in the bag.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

(Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

All the company would say

“Willett first put in his new gamer last week at the Nedbank Challenge. Willett’s prototype putter also features a new prototype Odyssey shaft to help improve the consistency of the putting stroke.”

Willet has historically favored his blade-style Odyssey O-Works #1 W. More recently, at the Turkish Airlines Open, we spotted him with an Odyssey Versa Jailbird Black. However, the prototype in question is clearly a heel-shafted mallet with a different insert than the 1 W or the Jailbird. The insert looks to be the White Hot Microhinge. Obviously, the two-tone, potentially multi-material, shaft, and the technology therein, is notable as well. Also apparently two-tone, the putter head, which looks similar in shape to a Tank Cruiser and similarly has a pair of sole weights.

Do we need the TG2 to break down the few photos we have like the Zapruder film? We’ll continue digging, in the meantime, let us know what you think, GolfWRX Members!


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19th Hole