Bryson DeChambeau was photographed and filmed using a compass (a math compass, not a directional compass) at the 2018 Travelers Championship last week at TPC River Highlands. This is about the least surprising thing I've seen this year in golf, but it apparently might also be one that is illegal.
According to Golf Digest, DeChambeau might have his compass taken away in the near future.
Rules officials approached DeChambeau about the device on the range following his third round at Saturday at TPC River Highlands. According to the 24-year-old former physics major at SMU, the tour said it's going to get back to him next week.
No matter what the ruling, nothing would be done retroactively.
"They said we just want to let you know we're investigating this device and seeing if it's allowable or not," DeChambeau said Sunday following a two-under 68 to tie for ninth in the tournament. "It wouldn't be the first time this has happened."
He went on to note that he plots true pin locations with the device (which is amazing), and the reference to it not being the first time this has happened relates to an incident with a non-conforming putter from the beginning of 2017.
Talked to Bryson about the compass. Said he's been using it for almost 2 years but people are only now noticing. Uses it to determine "true pin locations." Expects a ruling from Tour in next week about whether he can keep using it in competition.— Will Gray (@WillGrayGC) June 24, 2018
You can put every single data point from this impending (and ongoing) investigation directly into my veins! DeChambeau fancies himself a scientist (and he literally was in college), and his breakdown of the game into these bite-sized scientific pieces is not only great content, but it works for him, too. DeChambeau has two wins in the last 12 months and has apparently been using the compass since 2016.
Incredibly -- I cannot believe I'm typing this! -- there is a Rule of Golf regarding a compass, but it talks about the device used to determine direction, not the one used to determine radius and diameter. Joel Beall of Golf Digest astutely pointed this out as he tried to make sense of it all.
The Rules of Golf specifically addresses compass use -- God bless the lawyer with the foresight to scribe that down in the book. Believe it or not, the guidelines allow their use: 14-3/4 Use of Compass During Round
Q. A player uses a compass during a stipulated round to help determine the direction of the wind or the direction of the grain in the greens. Is the player in breach of Rule 14-3?
A. No. A compass only provides directional information and does not gauge or measure variable conditions or assist the player in his play.
All of this is amazing and absolutely the perfect scenario for a rules snafu regarding DeChambeau. I can't wait to see what the Tour rules and what the resulting fallout is from Compassgate 2018.