DeChambeau Puts End To Flagstick Putting Debate

While many players — both professional and amateur — continue to discuss the merits of putting with the flagstick in, one of the most outspoken advocates of the practice has declared the debate over.

Speaking this week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, Bryson DeChambeau, in no uncertain terms, put a cap on the most talked-about rule change of 2019.

“Pin in, is an easy one. It’s statistically proven to be a benefit in 99 percent of situations,” he said. “Anything outside 10 feet I’m going to leave it in. If I accidentally hit it three feet instead of two feet past the flag, it will stay in the cup. It has a better potential of staying in the cup than with it out. So that’s on that one.

“The only times where I’ll pull it out is where if the shadow is right in my line because the flag is moving or there’s too much wind and you can hear the flag, pull it back, not a big deal.”

Whether or not the stats back up the phenomenon, the visual is something that many golfers, including the best of this generation, are struggling to get past.

“Part of me wanted to have Joey (LaCava) down there to tend the flag, because I just felt like I might be slapped two (strokes) if this putt happened to go in,” Woods said about a downhill 45-footer that he left the pin in for on Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. “So that part, I’m trying to get over that. I’m trying to get used to it. But we’ll see.

“I’ve talked to some of the guys who are using it all the time, like Bryson. I guess when you’re younger, it’s easier to make a change. You haven’t been playing under these rules for such a long period of time.”

Others on Tour are taking to the rule change and attempting to use it to their advantage. Adam Scott and Aaron Wise are among those who have kept the pin in the hole at every opportunity, and as the days, weeks and months go on, the shock factor of seeing the flagstick in the hole while putting seems to less and less.