The first PGA Tour event of 2019 kicks off this week in Hawaii at the Tournament of Champions, and players will be competing under the new rules of golf for the first time. Naturally, there’s a lot of buzz among the players regarding the rules changes. One change World No. 4 Justin Thomas can’t get behind is the new flagstick rule.
Among the numerous rules changes for the new year, players are now allowed to putt with the flagstick in the cup. On Tuesday, Thomas was asked if he’d consider taking advantage of that change in certain situations.
When pressed, Thomas expanded on his reasoning, admitting that the whole thing would just feel weird to him.
“I mean personally I don’t think I can… I mean no offense, I can’t really take myself seriously if I kept the pin in. I mean it just would be such a weird picture and like on TV me celebrating and like the pin is in and my ball’s like up against it.”
The nine-time PGA Tour winner did leave the door slightly open to keeping the pin in under extreme circumstances but never when the tournament is on the line.
“I guess there’s some instances in tournaments where the pin is really the only thing that can stop it, that’s one thing. But if I have a putt I’m trying to make that thing’s coming out.”
JT isn’t the only one mystified by the new flagstick rule. Fellow pro Bubba Watson posted a video at Kapalua over the weekend mocking the rule with the help of his caddie. In the video, Watson hits a putt that runs past the hole, then stops and tracks back towards the hole as his caddie repeatedly takes the pin in and out.
But not all pros are against the idea if keeping the flagstick in as a backstop. Bryson DeChambeau has made it known that he will take advantage of the rule whenever he believes it will improves his chances of making a putt.
That’s no surprise coming from Bryson, who always follows his own unique path. As for everyone else, we’ll leave you with Thomas’s closing argument against the rule, which will similarly run through a lot players’ minds this season:
“I just feel like it would be very, very weird.”