When Bryson DeChambeau Disagreed With the USGA Over a Controversial Rule: ‘That Was Never My Intention…’

Published 08/30/2022, 7:00 PM EDT
Golf – The 150th Open Championship – Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland, Britain – July 17, 2022 Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. on the 3rd during the final round REUTERS/Phil Noble

Bryson DeChambeau is probably one of the most calculative golfers of all time. Popularly known as “The Scientist”, DeChambeau approaches the game with an incomparable analytical skillset. But when the exact skillset you are renowned for goes against you, people tend to notice.

Bryson DeChambeau and his mystery tool in question


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The question arises, what was this tool that challenged the scientist after all? Well, to our amusement it was a protractor that created the controversy.

Also popularly known as a drawing compass, DeChambeau apparently used the device as a referencing tool. The USGA, however, deemed its use as illegal under Rule 14-3a of the Rules of Golf. The organization deemed that this might put the player at an advantage, which would be unfair to the rest.

Golf – The 150th Open Championship – Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland, Britain – July 14, 2022, Bryson DeChambeau of the U.S. lines up a putt on the 1st green during the first round REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

DeChambeau finally acknowledged the incident and said, “Look, I’ll say one thing. I will say it’s unfortunate. That was never my intention, to skirt 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.”

Bryson’s unconventional approach to the sport

As a matter of fact, this was not the first time the USGA deemed Bryson’s approach non-conforming. The non-governmental organization that governs the rules associated with the game of golf has been in a conflict of interest with the pro-golfer once before.

In 2017, the USGA ruled out his use of the putter for the side saddle stroke. The governing body deemed this stroke as non-conforming, just like it did for Bryson’s use of the calculator.


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John Bodenhamer, a senior USGA official stated, “I’ve got to be honest with you, Bryson is amazing. We had a great discussion. We applaud his innovation. He always is on the cutting edge. And I think we need to be talking with him more often to get a sense of how technology can be used by players. I think we’ll see him continue to push things to make himself better and we applaud that.”

Let’s see how things turn out between DeChambeau and the USGA in the coming years.


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What do you think about Bryson’s unconventional approaches towards the game? Share your views in the comments section below.

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Daiemah Malik

283 articles

Daiemah is a golf writer at EssentiallySports. Having been writing since the age of 12, she has had a keen interest in Golf. Daiemah admires Nelly Korda and Tiger Woods, and would love to see more women excel in the sport.

Edited By: Manaal Siddiqui