Bryson DeChambeau has found one way around the new changes to the USGA rule book.
DeChambeau, 25, plans to leave the flag in for putts starting in 2019. He discussed his new tactic on a recent Golf Channel podcast, and again in a Golf.com report.
“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick,” DeChambeau said. “In U.S. Opens, I’ll take it out, and every other Tour event, when it’s fiberglass, I’ll leave it in and bounce that ball against the flagstick if I need to.”
This approach is one way to combat one of the many changes planned for the new year. The USGA governing body made a number of adjustments, including eliminating any penalty for hitting the flagstick when putting on the green. If a golfer were to hit the flagstick, a two-shot penalty under Rule 17-3 would be added to their score, but starting next year, players will have the choice to leave the pin in for putts from any distance.
Currently, some golfers opt to have their caddy tend the flagstick from putts at a greater distance. The caddy removes the flagstick from the hole as the ball approaches to ensure a penalty-free putt.
According to DeChambeau, the thicker, metal pins that are used at the U.S. Open will force him to adjust his strategy, but typical fiberglass pins used in most tournaments will offer “a higher propensity for it to go in the hole” when struck by a ball.
DeChambeau is currently sixth in the latest world rankings, and is the highest-ranked player in the field for this week’s tournament at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.