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Wednesday's pro-am had a little different feel than in years past, part of a new format the PGA Tour is implementing this season.

This year, amateurs had a chance to play with two professionals, one on the front 9 and another on the back 9.

It's something the Tour experimented with first in the FedEx St. Jude Classic last June. It was met with high praise and has since been used in a dozen events.

"I think it's kind of a win-win for everybody," Billy Hurley III said. "One of the things we're trying to do is, some of these pro-ams with four amateurs have taken close to six hours, and one of the things the Tour has done is say we don't really want our guys out there for six hours the day before competition."

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau was the only pro to play all 18 holes Wednesday, but Hurley said the nine-hole format is a little more relaxing the day before the tournament.

"I think we play more nine holes than you think, on Tuesday or if you're not in the pro-am, some guys will play nine holes in the morning," he said. "I don't think it has an effect one way or the other for preparation."

"I think it is a little bit of a new routine guys have to get used to and maybe change up what their Tuesday looks like, but I think overall it's been very positive for everybody."

The format was a hit with the amateurs as well, eager to get the chance to play with two professionals in the day.

"I think the format is awesome. You get to play with two pros and then it doesn't tire them out because they're playing tomorrow," said David Kind of Lemont, Illinois, who played with Chez Reavie and then Sam Saunders. "You've got two different guys, they have different approaches to the game. ... I think it's a good idea."

There are still some, however, who enjoy the old format.

"I’m old-school. I’m used to playing in 18," Davis Love III said. "I kind of built my whole preparation around the 18-hole pro-am as my deal. ... But I see the benefits."

Baffled by Bryson: Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau couldn't avoid questions Wednesday about the controversy he found himself embroiled in after using a geometric compass during the Traveler's Championship last month.

He wasn't penalized at the time, but the USGA has since disallowed the use of such a device, a bit of a blow to DeChambeau, who has become known for his desire to develop more of a technical understanding of the game.

"That was never my intention, to skirt by the rules or anything like that. It was just a device I thought had been used for a long time in different fields," he said. "I'm not trying to push the game in any direction. I'm trying to utilize every tool in my brain to be able to reference information and get information in a way that I can utilize to the best of my ability.

"Whether it's referencing a pin location, getting more precise pin locations or knowing what the wind is a little more precisely, that's what we're talking about."

DeChambeau said he has had long conversations with the USGA about the decision, calling them "fantastic," But his creativity continues to confound even some of the veteran golfers on hand this week.

"I'm still trying to figure out — I've got to ask him — really what he was trying to do there, because it's not much of a science," Steve Stricker said. "The (yardage book) can't be exact because it's some guy's drawing of it, right? So it's not like he's taken a GPS mapping system to write it in our books. So still trying to figure out in my own head ... because it's not an exact science."

What's new at the JDC: A new feature at TPC Deere Run are hay bales set up on the driving range that will serve as yardage markers and targets for the players during the week. There is also a hay baler on display at the top of the hill between the 10th tee and practice facility.

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