The new Rules of Golf have gotten a lot of attention recently.
And quite a few professional players (including Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) have stated their frustration with these Rules in public (see e.g. this overview from Golf Channels website) – prompting commentary and discussions.
I have tried to sum up some of it below.
Recently in Honda Classic, Rickie Fowler mocked the new dropping Rule:
— Ryan John Kennedy (@kennedyryanj) 28. februar 2019
As you might know, Fowler recently incurred a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height.
Fowler added that the new “caddie-Rule” is stupid:
Justin Thomas has also included quite a few negative comments about the Rules of Golf recently, which caused USGA to write to him in public on Twitter, where they accused him of cancelling several meetings with the USGA – and asked him to call them:
Justin, we need to talk. You’ve cancelled every meeting we’ve planned with you, but we are reaching out again. We were at the first 5 events, and tournaments last year, and your tour has had a seat at the table for 7 years. We’d love nothing more than to give you a seat. Call us.
— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) 2. marts 2019
Not long after, though, USGA published this tweet:
After further and more direct conversations with @JustinThomas34, we realize he did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings. We value his and all players’ opinions and are committed to a productive dialogue as the golf world adjusts to the modernized rules.
— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) 5. marts 2019
Webb Simpson recently even suggested, that the PGA Tour should get its own Rules.
The PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan then published this memo about a week ago:
Memo from Tour commissioner to players on Monday re: this year’s rule changes. “This is a collaborative process, one the PGA Tour has been a part of from the beginning, along with all organizations in the world,” the memo reads. pic.twitter.com/pTa17UuQCC
— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) 5. marts 2019
This all seems like a bit like an untenable mess.
Personally I think, that we should all remind ourselves, that…:
- … the new Rules of Golf are great and that USGA and R&A have done a fantastic and great job modernizing them. It is not an easy task to rewrite so many Rules. I think they deserve a lot more respect and praise.
- … there will always be some Rules, that some players etc. don’t like. But all players etc. have had a chance to give input and feedback to the drafts, and USGA and R&A have been very open in the process. The Rules as we have them are (I assume) the Rules, that most people would have. I think that that fact should get some attention too.
In the past the Rules of Golf have been changed quite a few times in direct response to a professional player’s situation (Lexi Thompson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li etc.) – so it will be interesting to see, if USGA and R&A will continue to change or modify Rules in response to real play situations in near future.
I expect more Rules incidents in the coming weeks :-).