DeChambeau Responds To USGA’s Ban

For the first time since the USGA handed down a ruling that said Bryson DeChambeau’s using of a drawing compass during a stipulated round violated the Rules of Golf, the defending champion of this week’s John Deere Classic spoke to the media about his reaction and interactions with the USGA. 

“I will say it’s unfortunate,” DeChambeau said in his pre-tournament press conference. “It’s just a reference tool. I talked to John Bodenhamer (the USGA’s Senior Managing Director of Championships & Governance) about it quite a bit, for a couple hours, and we had a great conversation. The USGA has been really responsive. We’ve had fantastic talks. I’m honestly looking forward to working with them on helping make the rules better, more clear.

“That was never my intention, to skirt by the rules or anything like that. It was just a device I thought had been used for a long time in different fields. It shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not a distance measuring device. It’s just a referencing tool. They didn’t think it was legal, and that’s fine. At the same point in time, there is a lot of different ways to go about referencing things. You know, like I could use my finger or things like that. So they’re working on that to clarify the rules in that regard as well.”

DeChambeau said previously that he had used the compass to find “true pin locations,” which came to light when cameras zoomed in on him using it during last month’s Travelers Championship. At that time, the PGA Tour said they were going to look into its legality with the USGA, but that there would be no retroactive penalties.

“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau explained at the time. “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.” 

Last Thursday, the USGA released their findings that stated they ruled that the compass fell under ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’

“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,” the Tour wrote in a brief released to the players and obtained by’s Rex Hoggard. “It is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’”

DeChambeau had a final word on the decision that he would continue to use anything and everything under the Rules to help him play the best golf he can.

“I’m not trying to push the game in any direction. I’m trying to utilize every tool in my brain to be able to reference information and get information in a way that I can utilize it to the best my ability,” he said. “So whether it’s referencing a pin lotion, getting more precise pin locations or knowing what the wind is a little more precisely, that’s what we’re talking about. What information can we gather and what’s the resolution on that information.

“(The ruling is) not going to deter me; it’s going to help make what we can do more precise under the rules. I don’t ever want to be doing anything outside of the rules obviously. We want to see what’s allowable, and what type of information can we gather, and how much resolution can we have under that type of information.”