USGA rules Bryson DeChambeau's use of a compass (the circle kind) is illegal
Golf Culture

USGA rules Bryson DeChambeau’s use of a compass (the circle kind) is illegal

The USGA has ruled Bryson DeChambeau's use of a compass -- the kind that draws circles, not measures direction -- is against the Rules of Golf and will be illegal moving forward.

DeChambeau has used a compass several times throughout the 2018 season, but he caught the attention of the PGA Tour and USGA officials when he was shown on CBS cameras using it at the Travelers Championship, the week after the US Open.

The PGA Tour deferred to the USGA, who was tasked to figure out what the Rules of Golf would say about using a compass (or a protractor, depending on who you ask) as DeChambeau does, which was to place the actual location of pin placements from the PGA Tour-supplied pin sheet onto his green book to measure greens and how shots would react on and off the green.

After a brief investigation of the question, which seemed destined to work against DeChambeau as the compass was effectively used as a distance-measuring device, the USGA came to its ruling, first reported by Golf Channel. However, the USGA told the PGA Tour specifically the compass wasn't necessarily considered a distance-measuring device so much as a piece of equipment which could help him score better.

“The USGA has ruled that the use of a protractor (also known as a drawing compass) during a stipulated round is a violation of Rule 14-3a of the Rules of Golf,” read a PGA Tour statement to players notifying them of the ruling. “It is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist him in making a stroke or in his play.’”

The end result is DeChambeau can't use a compass moving forward in tournament competition.

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.

What Viktor Hovland’s lost golf clubs can teach us about traveling with sticks Vokey SM9 wedges revealed this week on the PGA Tour Trump, PGA of America settle over cancelled PGA Championship The one thing Tiger Woods will never do in a golf tournament The new TaylorMade Stealth driver hits the USGA conforming list