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New rule allows PGA Tour’s Bryson DeChambeau to carry out plan

Updated December 25, 2018 - 3:03 pm

With all due respect to Tiger Woods and other PGA Tour players, Bryson DeChambeau, known as the “mad scientist,” is the world’s most interesting golfer.

During November’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin, which he won, DeChambeau uttered more interesting and complicated quotes than Elon Musk at a Tesla planning meeting.

The thought that generated the most attention — besides his discussion about being “neurologically comfortable” — was when he said his plan was to putt with the flagstick in the hole in 2019.

He will be allowed to do so because the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal Ancient are introducing many new rules for 2019, among them taking away the penalty for the ball hitting the flagstick when putted from on the green.

All the buzz the USGA and R&A can create through public relations to spread the news about the new rules probably will pale in comparison to if DeChambeau follows through with his plan. The potential first time for that scenario is during the Sentry Tournament of Champions from Jan. 2-6 at the Plantation Course in Kapalua, Hawaii.

But DeChambeau, 25, will do so only after careful calculation. He said he always will leave the flagstick in at the U.S. Open, but during regular tour events, leaving the pin in or out will depend on the “coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Easy for him to say.

DeChambeau bolted into the lead during the Shriners Open final round by making a long eagle putt on the 16th hole. After the round, he laughed when asked if the flagstick being in (legally because the putt was from off the green) had anything to do with the ball going in the cup.

“Oh, it hit the flagstick,” DeChambeau said.

That’s something we might be hearing a lot from the mad scientist in 2019, especially if that “coefficient” thing is within guidelines.

May the rules be with you

Southern Nevada Golf Association rules czar Sue May has conducted 12 new rules seminars and is pleased with the feedback.

“People really like the changes, and I am little bit surprised because I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “The response has been amazing. I believe the new rules will make the game easier and help with pace of play.

“How long it will take for players to understand the new rules and successfully play by them will be interesting to see, but I am encouraging players to help each other. It will be a process, but many of these new rules, like putting with the flagstick in, social golfers have been doing forever, so we all can now do that legally.”

Weekly deal

Beginning Friday and throughout 2019, a round at Desert Pines will include a free lunch and drink.

Stars on, off course

TPC Las Vegas professional Matt Henderson was named one of the top young teachers in America by Golf Digest.

The golf notebook appears Wednesday. Freelance writer Brian Hurlburt is a two-time author who has covered golf in Las Vegas for more than two decades. He can be reached at bhurlburt5@gmail.com or @LVGolfInsider.

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