MIAMI: A move by the R&A and US Golf Association (USGA) to change balls to limit driving distances was greeted with scorn Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) by players at the US PGA Valspar Championship.
Two-time major winner Justin Thomas, who defends his PGA Championship title in May at Oak Hill, called it "so bad for the game" while fellow American Sam Burns dubbed it "silly." The golf sanctioning bodies aimed the change at elite players to trim driving distances by 14-15 yards, reducing concerns about technology-boosting length and potentially rendering some courses.
The rule, if adopted, would begin in 2026.
"I'm clearly against it," Thomas said.
To players who have seen the sport grow in a huge way over the past two decades, the move struck a sour note.
"My reaction was disappointed, and also not surprised," Thomas said. "I think the USGA over the years has — in my eyes, it's harsh, but — made some pretty selfish decisions.
"They definitely, in my mind, have done a lot of things that aren't for the betterment of the game, although they claim it.
"I don't understand how it's growing the game. For them to say in the same sentence that golf is in the best place it's ever been, everything is great, but ... And I'm like, 'Well, there shouldn't be a 'but.' You're trying to create a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.'" Thomas said that it will hurt that casual players will no longer be able to utilize the same equipment that the top players do in majors.2023-03-18T19:48:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd