By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
Bryson DeChambeau, the 23-year-old highly touted pro on the PGA Tour, was told by the United States Golf Association that a putter he planned to use does not conform to the Rules of Golf.
DeChambeau, the 2015 NCAA champion from SMU who employs an unorthodox putting style similar to the one used by the great Sam Snead, is not happy about it.
“I was very disappointed with the way they handled it,” DeChambeau told Adam Schupak of the Morning Read, a golf newsletter. “They’ve said to me, too, that they don’t like the way I’m (putting). But it’s within the rules, and I don’t know why they don’t like it.
“They say I’m potentially taking skill out of the game. Anything that helps shoot lower scores or makes golf more fun and grows the game, that’s what I’m all about.”
Janeen Driscoll, a USGA spokesperson, told Schupak that “the circumstances surrounding the club’s non-conformance are confidential and between the USGA and Bryson DeChambeau,” and said the USGA would not comment on what prevented the club from passing inspection.
DeChambeau started using a side-saddle putting style at the Franklin Templeton Shootout in December but has been practicing the method for years.
At the CareerBuilder Challenge two weeks ago, he used a same putter head but a shaft that was placed toward the back of it — not the center.
“Every week, they’ve been inspecting it,” DeChambeau’s instructor, Mike Schy, told Schupak. “It’s bad. It’s really bad. I’m telling you, they do not want him putting this way. For some reason, they think it is an enormous advantage, and it is not.”
According to a spokeswoman for the USGA, DeChambeau submitted multiple versions of his face-on putter on Jan. 4, and on Jan. 11 he was informed by the association had concerns about that particular submission.
DeChambeau received a “Duration of Competition” ruling from the PGA Tour to play the putter at the Sony Open, but he was warned at the CareerBuilder Challenge by the PGA Tour there might be a problem with that version of the putter.
Last week, he was officially informed by the USGA the putter was non-conforming.
Before the Sony Open in Hawaii earlier this month, PGA Tour officials told DeChambeau that he could use the putter in competition.