Inside the rule that allowed Bryson DeChambeau to replace his driver
Everyone knows by now that Bryson DeChambeau swings hard, and if you don’t, well, you just haven’t been paying attention. DeChambeau has taken the PGA Tour by storm since the restart, bombing drives and chasing ball speed in an all-out quest for maximum distance. At the PGA Championship, he put that violent swing on display yet again and provided yet another chapter in the legend of Bryson.
DeChambeau was plodding along with a solid start to the round as he made two birdies in his first six holes. When he stepped on the tee box at the par-4 7th, he made his usual thrash and the ball exploded off the club face. But when he bent down to pick up his tee, the head of his driver fell off the shaft. That’s right, DeChambeau swung with such might that he literally broke his driver.
He looked stunned. And who wouldn’t be? Luckily for him, the Rules of Golf covers situations just like these.
According to Rule 4.1a, “if your conforming club is damaged during your round or while play is stopped, you may continue to make strokes with the damaged club for the rest of the round, or have your club repaired by restoring it as nearly as possible to its condition before the damage happened.”
The rule goes on to state that “damaged during a round means when the club’s performance characteristics are changed because of any act during the round, whether: by the player (such as making a stroke or practice swing with the club, putting it in or taking it out of a golf bag, dropping or leaning on it, or throwing or abusing it), or by any other person, outside influence or natural forces.”
DeChambeau didn’t miss a beat with the unusual circumstances, and he had a member of his team run out to his car for a replacement shaft. It was later revealed on the broadcast that he travels with two back-up drivers and three back-up shafts. Would you expect anything different from the most meticulous player on Tour?