Why are golfers putting with the flag in and does it give an advantage?

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU swears by it. More and more golfers are doing it. And now it's completely within the rules.

As of the start of the 2019 calendar year, golfers of all levels can now putt with the flagstick left in the hole.

 Bryson DeChambeau leaves the flagstick in on any putt longer than ten feet

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Bryson DeChambeau leaves the flagstick in on any putt longer than ten feet

Caddies can also take the flag out or have it attended – previously the only two options.

Why are golfers putting with the flag in?

Changes brought in the by Royal and Ancient and the USGA, golf's two ruling bodies, amended the rules for 2019.

The bodies decided on the alteration because they believe "allowing a player to putt with the flagstick in the hole without fear of penalty should generally help speed up play".

Before, if a player hit the flagstick with a putt, then they would have been hit with a penalty.

The changes have come in under Rule 13.2a(2).

 Tiger Woods alternates between leaving the flag in and out on putts

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Tiger Woods alternates between leaving the flag in and out on putts

Is it an advantage to putt with the flag in?

This really depends on who you ask.

The USGA state on their website: "On balance it is expected that there is no advantage in being able to putt with the unattended flagstick in the hole".

However, DeChambeau, who was seen leaving the flagstick in on a number of putts during his seven-shot win in the Dubai Desert Classic, believes it is a big advantage.

He said: "Pin in, is an easy one. It's statistically proven to be a benefit in 99 per cent of situations.

"Anything outside of ten feet I'm going to leave it in.

"If I accidentally hit it three feet instead of two feet past the flag, it will stay in the cup.

"It has a better potential of staying in the cup than with it out."

Why would you putt with the flag in?

Respected golf instructor and former Nasa researcher Dave Pelz says putting with the flagstick in IS an advantage.

 Adam Scott has been putting with the flagstick in so far in 2019

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Adam Scott has been putting with the flagstick in so far in 2019

He said: "When the flagstick leans either slightly toward the golfer or away, the odds of it helping to keep the ball in the hole increase.

"With the flagstick leaning away from the golfer, the hole becomes effectively larger; when the flagstick leans toward the golfer, the ball rebounds downward, again helping shots find the hole.

"Only in the most obvious case, when the flagstick is leaning so far toward the golfer that there isn’t enough room for the ball, is leaving the flagstick in a bad idea.

"Even if you don’t hit the flagstick dead center, it still will aid you."

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU swears by it. More and more golfers are doing it. And now it's completely within the rules.