Bryson DeChambeau, caddie narrowly avoid rarely used ruling at Ryder Cup

Try as he might, DeChambeau's caddie was not able to dislodge the flagstick from the cup.


Bryson DeChambeau has not even played a full round at the Ryder Cup yet, but he’s already made a ton of headlines. From his spectator-plunking birdie on the 1st, to his mammoth drive at the 5th, each time he’s stepped to the ball, something worthwhile has happened.

At the 6th hole, fans got yet another encounter, albeit this was an odd one.

As DeChambeau lined up his birdie putt on the par-4, he asked his caddie, Brian Zeigler, to tend the flagstick. But as DeChambeau’s ball rolled toward the cup, Zeigler ran into a slight issue — the flagstick wouldn’t budge.

Try as he might to dislodge the flagstick from the hole, it never did come free. The moment sent analysts Justin Leonard and David Feherty into a brief panic as the ball approached the cup, but ultimately, the ball ran out of steam before it reached the hole.

Check out the incident below.

But despite Leonard and Feherty’s panic about a potential penalty narrowly avoided, DeChambeau was not at risk for a rules violation — even if his ball had careened off the flagstick. Brad Gregory of the PGA of America clarified the situation on the broadcast.

“In the past, prior to 2019, if the ball would’ve hit the flagstick in that case, the player would’ve been penalized,” he said. “In this case, going forward, since this would’ve been an accidental deflection — he’s trying to get the flagstick out — it would’ve been an accidental deflection and there would be no penalty, and the player would play the ball as it lies, even if it went into the hole.”

And while this might seem like an obscure situation, Rule 13.2b covers this exact situation.

“If the player’s ball in motion accidentally hits the flagstick or the person who removed or is attending it (or anything the person is holding), there is no penalty, and the ball must be played as it lies.”

Play on, everyone! Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.