PGA Tour pro blasts new rules changes: ‘Most of them missed the mark’

December 20, 2018
Mackenzie Hughes during the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

Golf’s governing bodies are set to roll out the new and improved Rules of Golf on Jan. 1, 2019. The changes go a long way to address many issues golfers have with the current outdated rules. But not everyone is thrilled with the new guidelines. One PGA Tour player, Mackenzie Hughes, took his complaints to Twitter.

Hughes, a Canadian pro who has one-career victory on Tour, tweeted a message on Wednesday that began, “I just went through the new rules of golf for 2019 again.” He goes on to write that while he supports some of the changes, “most of them missed the mark.”

Among the new rules that Hughes agrees with are the new prohibition on caddies standing in their players’ lines to help with alignment, as well as the change allowing golfers to move loose impediments in bunkers.

One rule that makes Hughes’s naughty list is the change to the height from which a drop is to be made. Formerly, drops were to be made from shoulder height, but starting in January players are supposed to drop from knee height. Later in the thread, Hughes gives specifics on his criticism, writing, “I just think dropping it from shoulder height was fine to begin with. What problem did we solve by changing it to knee height?”

One fan replied arguing that the problem with dropping from shoulder height is that the distance is radically different for a short person and a tall person, to which Hughes shot back, “If that’s what we’re worried about then there are bigger problems. Do you think that foot is drastically changing your drop? I don’t think it is.”

Another change he takes exception with is the rule governing the use of damaged clubs on the course. Under the new rule, a player can continue playing a damaged club, but they cannot replace the club during the round unless it was damaged by an outside agency.

Hughes’s tweet set off a stream of replies from opinionated golfers. Even Hughes fellow Canadian Tour pro Graham DeLaet got in on the action. DeLaet announced his displeasure that the governing bodies failed to clarify the anchored putting rule.

Hughes replied in support of his countryman, writing, “Agreed. They had a chance to make that clear and they didn’t. Could have just said it can’t be over a certain length and can’t touch any part of your body.”

Hughes does throw his support behind some of the changes, including no longer forcing golfers to play from a divot in the fairway, but his primary argument against the changes is revealed later in the thread. It seems the concerned pro’s biggest beef is that the aim of the changes was to simplify the game, but they’ve actually made the rules more confusing.

With the implementation of the new rules right around the corner, it’s likely we’ll hear a lot more hot takes in the days and weeks to come, especially once the Tour season gets underway in earnest in January.