Bryson DeChambeau has (surprise!) radical ideas about equipment testing, including how to punish violators
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Few, if any, professional golfers put their equipment through a more rigorous testing process than Bryson DeChambeau. With a FlightScope launch monitor and Quintic’s highly-technical ball roll system almost always in tow, DeChambeau has a constant pulse on his club performance. It’s one of the reasons why he’s never worried about his driver drifting into non-conforming territory.
Of course, not all players hyper-analyzes their clubs like DeChambeau. For every DeChambeau on the PGA Tour, there are far more players who lean heavily on the equipment manufacturers to keep their gear legal.
Following Xander Schauffele’s revelation at the Open Championship that his driver failed the R&A’s CT test, players have started to question how the sport should handle driver testing moving forward. Schauffele called for across-the-board testing for every player in the field.
While it’s the most logical solution, DeChambeau offered another alternative that’s more closely in line with the pre- and post-race inspections cars undergo during a Nascar race — but with an interesting twist.
“I think we should be tested after every win, or whoever finishes in the top 5 should be tested,” DeChambeau told GOLF.com at the WGC-FedEx Invitational. “It’s like Nascar. If you win with an illegal driver or something else that’s [non-conforming], I would say don’t take the tournament away, because how is the player supposed to know when he was given the driver in good faith. Maybe it did get hotter over the course of hitting it 500 times, or they have a different way of measuring. There’s a bunch of discrepancies in there.”
But instead of giving the title to the runner-up — according to Rule 4-1a, a player is disqualified for using a non-conforming driver — DeChambeau floated the idea of docking FedEx Cup points, something that’s also done in Nascar and Formula 1.
“If you did play a driver that was illegal, you take some FedEx Cup points away,” said DeChambeau, who has five Tour wins. “So you make your money and win, that’s great, but you lose half the points you made. It’s not like you should have the trophy taken away. That’s one way to deal with it. You putted well, you chipped well. But I think there needs to be some repercussions from using something that’s not under the conformance rules. If they want to challenge the ruling, they can go do some tests to see if it was truly over.”
No matter what happens going forward, DeChambeau, Schauffele and other players believe changes need to be made to the testing protocol. Whether that change happens gradually or in short order remains to be seen.
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