DeChambeau permitted to replace damaged driver

ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Rules Official Graeme Scott describes the Model Local Rule that allowed Bryson DeChambeau to replace his damaged driver mid-round at the PGA Championship.

Under normal circumstances, ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Rules Official Graeme Scott would likely be on the ground at TPC Harding Park officiating his fourth PGA Championship. Today, watching from his home in Australia, Scott explains the circumstances around the ruling.

Playing in the afternoon field of the US PGA Championship alongside Aussie Adam Scott, Bryson DeChambeau benefitted greatly from a Model Local Rule used on all Professional Tours after the shaft of the uniquely configured driver snapped as he bent down to pick up his tee on the 7th tee.

Although Rule 4.1b(3) prohibits a player from replacing a damaged club during a round (unless the player did not cause the damage), Model Local Rule G-9, which was introduced after the 2019 code came into force,  allows a club that has been damaged during the round other than by abuse to be replaced.

Given that DeChambeau did nothing out of the ordinary when the shaft snapped he was able to have a replacement shaft brought out to him by a Rules Official from the PGA of America.

DeChambeau’s powerful and unusual swing and set up means that his shaft selection and 5° driver face are integral to his action.

His team happened to have a replacement shaft in the boot of their car and so, under Interpretation 4.1b(4)/1, the Rules Official was able to head to the car park and retrieve the shaft on DeChambeau’s behalf.

It certainly helped that the 8th hole is a par 3, providing sufficient time for the shaft to be delivered and replaced without unduly delaying play.

The benefits of this were clear when DeChambeau went on to birdie holes 9 and 10, thanks to a couple of boomers off the tee, averaging 19yds longer than his previous drives.

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