Already burning brightly, the controversy over the new rules transformed into a conflagration at the Honda Classic. Now one pro is calling on PGA Tour players to fight for their own Tour-specific set of golf rules.
The pro in question is reigning Texas Open champion Andrew Landry. Landry made his plea in a response to fellow pro Patton Kizzire’s own complaints about the new rules. On Sunday, Kizzire attacked the caddie-alignment rule change in a tweet, writing, “Caddie accidentally being behind you at some point during your setup resulting in a penalty is asinine.”
In response, Landry tweeted that the PGA Tour is a “players tour” and that Tour pros should “fight to have our own rules and only follow the USGA and R&A once a year at our US Open and the Open.”
The additional direct USGA call-out is sure to ruffle some already-ruffled feathers at USGA headquarters.
The USGA took heat over the weekend for a snarky reply to complaints by Justin Thomas on Twitter. Thomas again repeatedly criticized the new rules over the course of the event, calling them “terrible” and charging that they “don’t make sense.”
Kizzire’s idea of having a separate set of rules for the PGA Tour is not a new one, but it would be a massive change to how the game has been played for centuries. Golf, and presumably the USGA, prides itself on being a sport without bifurcation: weekend hackers play by the same rules and use the same equipment (sort of) as Tiger Woods does at the U.S. Open.
But given the extreme pushback against the new rules changes enacted on Jan. 1 by the USGA and R&A, it’s conceivable that once-unthinkable rules bifurcation could occur.
Due to the unique nature of golf’s major governing organizations — where the USGA, R&A, PGA Tour and PGA of America simultaneously work together and compete against one another — it’s difficult to predict what the outcome will be. But if pros continue to complain about the new rules, anything could happen. The PGA Tour’s top priority: keep its players happy.