The new Rules of Golf have sparked debate since they were announced, but with the first tournament of 2019 on the horizon, which tour pros are in favour of the new flagstick rule? By Lewis Blain.
In or Out? What Will Pros Do With The Flagstick?
This weekend marks the first time we witness the new Rules of Golf in action on Tour with players now being able to play shots from the putting green with the flagstick still in the hole.
The change is expected to help speed up play without conceding a penalty, though, it has received mixed reviews on tour so far.
2017 USPGA champion Justin Thomas is one that won’t be putting with the pin still in the hole.
“I just, I truly, I can’t, I wouldn’t be able to take myself seriously. I just feel like it would be very, very weird,” explained Thomas at the Sentry Tournament of Champions this week.
“If I have an 8-footer to win a golf tournament, I can’t, I mean no offence, I can’t really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in,” he said.
“If I have a putt I’m trying to make, that thing’s coming out.”
Dustin Johnson is another big name that is in agreement with Thomas. The world number three said that he can’t imagine many instances where he would need the flag to be kept in the hole.
“It’s going to be weird because the flag’s going to be going in and out a lot. But it’s all right,” Johnson said.
“If you got a real long putt or something I might leave it instead of having the caddie stand there and tend it. So I guess I will leave it in occasionally.”
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However, one player in favour of the new ruling is Johnson’s playing partner for the opening round at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Bryson DeChambeau won four times on Tour in 2018 but said back at the Shriners Open, a tournament that he went on to win, that he would experiment with the flag being in or out depending on the flagstick itself.
“It depends on the firmness value of the flag. The C.O.R. or coefficient of restitution of the flagstick,” explained the world number five.
“I won’t do it at U.S. Open because of metal flagsticks but most likely will everywhere else.
“All I try to do is use every aspect of the game of golf to my advantage. I try to use the rules to my advantage in the most positive way possible. Not trying to skirt around anything, just use them.”
During practice this week, fellow American Bubba Watson took the chance to query a putt with the man who knows all about the rules….
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