Justin Thomas believes the prospect of using the smaller ball in elite competition is “so bad” for golf and has criticized the “very selfish decisions” made by one of the sport’s governing bodies.
R&A And the USGA said in February 2020 that it intended to “break the growing cycle of distance hitting” and on Tuesday announced a model local rule (MLR) proposal to give tournament organizers the option of requiring the use of balls that Will travel about 15 yards less.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers and USGA counterpart Mike Vaughan confirmed that the MLR would be used at their own specific events, notably the Open Championship and the US Open, respectively.
Although pga tour Top did not immediately back the offer, with equipment manufacturing company Acushnet, which produces the Titleist balls used by Thomas, claiming it would set the game back 30 years.
“To be honest, my reaction was disappointing and not surprising,” former world number one Thomas said at a press conference ahead of the Valspar Championships.
“I think the USGA has, in my eyes, made harsh, but some very selfish decisions over the years. They certainly, in my mind, have done a lot of things that are not for the betterment of the game, though They claim it.
“I don’t understand how this is going to enhance the game. For them to say in one sentence that golf is the best place they’ve ever been is all great, but…
“And I’m like, ‘Okay, but shouldn’t be.’ You are trying to create a solution to a problem that does not exist’. To me, this is very bad for the game of golf.
“I mean, some of the great things for me is the fact that you can play the exact same golf ball that I play. I mean, it’s cool. For the everyday amateur golfer, it’s pretty unique that We’re able to play the exact same instrument.
“Yeah, I understand I might have a different piece on a wedge, whatever you want to call it, but you can go to the pro shop and buy the same golf balls that I play or Scotty Scheffler plays or whatever.
“But the USGA wants to get it to the point where it’s not. They want it to be, ‘Okay, well, the pros play like this and the amateurs play like this,’ and I don’t understand how golfers play golf.” How is it better for the game.
“All the time and money these manufacturers have spent trying to make the best product they can and now you’re going to tell them and us that we potentially have to start over — if not the PGA Tour, the PGA of America. Adopt a local rule – two out of the four biggest events of the year, we’re going to use a different ball?”
If Thomas’s views are widely reflected among his fellow pros, it appears unlikely the PGA Tour will agree to adopt MLR before its intended introduction in January 2026.
And the two-time major winner suggested it could lead to a split between governing bodies and the Tour.
“Why is this group calling it a five- to 15-handicap amateur to determine the rules of golf for professional golfers or why are they saying we have to do something?” Thomas added.
“So is it something where down the road where it’s like, you know what, well, if you want to change something based on your data that we think you believe Too biased and wrong and self-centered, so maybe we’ll create our own or we’ll do our own.
“I don’t know where the Tour stands on that. What they plan to do, I can’t speak on their behalf. But to my knowledge, they’re not necessarily on board with it or getting the ball rolling back.” Want to