As Bryson DeChambeau gets set to defend his title this week at the John Deere Classic, he'll do so without a piece of equipment that he had in his arsenal for his last PGA Tour start.
DeChambeau was spotted by TV cameras at last month's Travelers Championship using a drawing compass on his yardage book, and he explained that he used the device to more accurately determine pin locations. While the Tour told him that they would review his use of the device, DeChambeau expected that process to be nothing more than a formality.
But last week the USGA officially disallowed the practice, deeming it a violation of Rule 14-3 and considering it "unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play."
Speaking to reporters at TPC Deere Run, DeChambeau lamented the loss of what he felt was a straightforward tool.
"Look, I'll say one thing on that. I will say it's unfortunate," DeChambeau said. "That was never my intention, to skirt the rules or anything like that. It was just a device I thought had been used for a long time in different fields. It shouldn't be an issue. It's not a distance-measuring device. It's just a referencing tool."
DeChambeau is no stranger to rules battles with the USGA, having also gone head-to-head over the sidesaddle style of putting he employed early in his career. In the wake of the decision, DeChambeau met individually with John Bodenhamer, the USGA's senior managing director of championships and governance.
While DeChambeau believed that meeting yielded some progress and he hopes to work with the USGA in the future to make the rules "more clear," he doesn't plan to change the creative approach that has propelled him into the top 25 in the world rankings.
"Look, I'm not trying to push the game in any direction. I'm trying to utilize every tool in my brain to be able to reference information and get information in a way that I can utilize to the best of my ability," DeChambeau said. "We want to see what's allowable, and what information we can gather, and how much resolution can we have under that type of information."