American golfer Bryson DeChambeau faces investigation for using a protractor
Never mind the discussions whether golf’s rule book should have demanded that Phil Mickelson be disqualified for his petulant ball-swipe at the recent US Open, the authorities are deciding if Bryson DeChambeau should be allowed to use his protractor on course.
DeChambeau – the young American who has earned the nickname “The Mad Scientist” in his brief but highly successful time on the PGA Tour – has been informed by referees that he is “under investigation” for using the device normally seen in geometry circles.
DeChambeau was spotted by TV cameras employing the measurement instrument – otherwise referred to as a “compass” – at the Travelers Championship at the weekend, where he finished ninth behind Bubba Watson.
The 24-year-old, who won the Memorial last month to stand on the brink of making his Ryder Cup debut in September, has revealed that this was not the first time he has taken the split dividers to the yardage book, in his quest to ensure that the pin positions given out are correct.
“They are a little bit off once in a while, so I’m making sure they’re in the exact spot,” he said. “It’s a compass; sailors have been using them for a long, long time. I’ve been doing it since 2016. It’s funny that people take notice when I start playing well.”
DeChambeau has been in a similar position with the disciplinarians before. Last year, the United States Golf Association questioned whether his “side-saddle” method of putting was within the rules. Eventually he dropped the technique, accusing the USGA of “stunting the growth of the game”. In truth, DeChambeau’s latest contretemps will not surprise all those who have become fascinated by the physics graduate, who lists Albert Einstein and Tiger Woods as his principal inspirations.
The former US Amateur champion famously has the shafts on all his irons cut to exactly the same length – 37½ins, the proximate length of a seven-iron. He keeps the clubs on the same plane throughout his swing and does not turn his wrists. Meanwhile, larger grips allow him to hold the club in his palms and not in his fingers. Yes, the world No 22 is set to cause quite a stir at the Open Championship at Carnoustie, which starts on July 19.
One player who will be missing from the Angus links is Paul Lawrie, the Scot who so memorably won the Open there in 1999. Lawrie, 49, has been struggling with a back injury and will take the rest of the year off.
However, the family could still yet be represented. Paul’s son Craig was one of nine players to come through regional qualifying at Panmure on Monday. The 21-year-old goes forward to the 36-hole shoot-out at the Renaissance club in East Lothian next Monday, where 72 hopefuls will fight for three precious berths.