Two weeks after the new rules went into effect, the debate about putting with the flagstick in rages on. Some say it helps sometimes, some say it helps all the time. Others are not convinced. So Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson decided to test out the new flagstick rule themselves.
The four pros are in Abu Dhabi this week for their first European Tour event of the year: the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. That also means they’re putting the new rules to the test for the first time.
The tournament organizers brought DJ and crew together to film them experimenting with putting with the flagstick in. In the video, each player takes a shot, changing the speed and line of their putts to see if the flagstick actually helps or hurts.
You can watch the test below.
While some pros are considering putting with the pin in on every putt this year (most notably Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott), and short game guru Dave Pelz argues the science proves that’s the right call, the results of this test were inconclusive.
Keeping the pin in clearly helped on certain putts, but on others the flagstick rejects the pros’ rolls like an NBA center.
So it appears the testing will continue indefinitely on the pro tours. It’s hard to say if one side will ultimately win out, but there’s a good chance by the end of the season players will simply go by personal preference and feel. At least that’s the reasoning Justin Thomas used to decide against ever keeping the pin in.
This isn’t the first rules video this famous foursome filmed this week. In a previous clip, they competed in a contest involving the new double hit rule. Technically the move they employed in that video was illegal, even under the new rules, but it’s well worth your time anyway.