ORLANDO — As the PGA Tour’s collective blood pressure continues to rise over the nuances, intricacies and growing pains involved with incorporating the new Rules of Golf, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan sent out a memo on Monday urging patience and continued collaboration with golf’s governing bodies.
Conflict has been brewing. Justin Thomas was the most outspoken in recent days, calling the rules “terrible” and getting into a Twitter tiff with the USGA, but he was far from the only critic. Rickie Fowler mocked the new drop rule in competition, Andrew Landry called for the players to make their own rules, and Patton Kizzire praised some changes while calling another “asinine.” Monahan’s Monday memo reads as a rebuke to those protestations, pointing out the opportunities Tour players have had to effect change.
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard was the first to post the memo, entitled “Changes to the Rules of Golf.” He referenced the “ongoing conversation” the rules have become and laid out several bullet points for the players to follow, copied here:
-This is a collaborative process, one the PGA Tour has been a part of from the beginning, along with all organizations in the world of golf.
-During this process, we put forward a lengthy list of recommendations to improve the rules in many ways, including the removal of numerous penalties, and virtually all our suggestions were incorporated. We also had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules prior to implementation, which resulted in modifications for the final version.
-The R&A and the USGA are our industry partners, and we have pledged to work together through the introduction of these changes and provide feedback every step of the way. We have already achieved positive outcomes this year – most notably, the clarification of the caddie-alignment rule – while we continue to focus on the remaining issues that are causing debate and discussion. None of this is unexpected.
-Our rules officials are the best in the game and are also providing constant feedback to the R&A and USGA as they work through implementing these rules during competition.
-We are committed to playing under these rules as we analyze their effectiveness throughout the entire season and it’s important to acknowledge we are not at the finish line yet.
-You will continue to have an avenue to voice your questions and concerns, either through the team, the Player Advisory Council or directly to USGA representatives as they continue to be on-site during our events to gather feedback.
Monahan also cautioned players to “use your voice constructively during this process.” You can read the complete “Changes to the Rules of Golf” memo below.