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By Joel Beall
Bryson DeChambeau’s putting experiment is garnering news in Kapalua this week, as the 25-year-old has been the most prominent player to endorse a new rule that allows the flagstick to remain in at all times. However, it’s another rules revision that caught DeChambeau’s attention on Friday.
Following a five-under round of 68 at the Tournament of Champions, a score that left him in second place heading into the weekend, DeChambeau was candid in his thoughts about the change in taking a drop. Under the latest iteration to the Rules of Golf, a player must release a ball from knee height.
To DeChambeau, a stipulation that doesn’t make sense.
“That you have to drop it from knee height is a bit absurd, unfortunately,” DeChambeau said. “I think that you should be able to go from knee height to shoulder height. There should be no issue with that, whatever you want to do, honestly.”
DeChambeau also remarked on a decision that allows players to repair damage on putting surfaces. Specifically, how he finds it amusing that players can now fix spike marks.
“Because I can see a lot of guys, when nobody’s really looking, tapping down some things and making a little depression so they can putt it through that area a little bit better,” DeChambeau said.
As for an update on his trials with the flat stick and flagstick—players can now putt with the pin in—heavy winds caused DeChambeau to pull the flag more than Day 1, yet he remains steadfast in the benefits of keeping the pin where it stands.
“I think the flagstick’s always interesting. I’m using it to my advantage, best I can,” Dechambeau asserted.
So far, it’s working: DeChambeau has posted a 7.035 strokes gained/putting figure through two days, best in the TOC field. He will begin Round 3 three strokes behind Gary Woodland.