Sam Burns, a fellow American, referred to it as “silly”.
He says shortening long drives will reduce golf fans’ enjoyment.
Thomas also implied that professional players might make their own rules.
Players at the US PGA Valspar Tournament on Wednesday were very critical of the R&A and US Golf Association’s decision to switch balls in an effort to shorten driving distances.
Sam Burns, a fellow American, referred to it as “silly,” while two-time major champion Justin Thomas, who will defend his PGA Championship crown in May at Oak Hill, termed it “so horrible for the game.”
The golf sanctioning organizations made the adjustment in an effort to reduce worries about technology lengthening drives and potentially rendering some courses by targeting elite players and cutting driving distances by 14–15 yards.
If passed, the rule would take effect in 2026.
“I´m clearly against it,” Thomas stated.
The move disappointed players who have witnessed the sport expand dramatically over the last two decades.
“My reaction was disappointed and also not surprised,” Thomas explained. “I think the USGA over the years has — in my eyes, it´s harsh, but — made some pretty selfish decisions.
“They have obviously done a lot of things that aren’t for the development of the game, despite their claims.
“I’m not sure how it’s expanding the game. To declare in the same phrase that golf is in the best shape it’s ever been, that everything is fantastic, but… ‘Oh, there shouldn’t be a but,’ I say. You’re attempting to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Casual players will no longer be able to use the same equipment as top players in majors, according to Thomas.
“It’s absolutely terrible for the game of golf,” Thomas stated.
“You can go to the pro shop and buy the same golf ball that I play, Scottie Scheffler plays, or anybody.
“But, the USGA wants to change things so that it isn’t the case… I’m not sure how that benefits the game of golf. How much time and money have these manufacturers spent trying to make the best product possible, and now you’re going to tell them and us that we have to start over?”
According to Burns, shortening long drives will reduce golf fans’ enjoyment.
“I think it’s fairly ridiculous,” Burns added. “We’re an entertainment sport, and I don’t think people want to come out here and watch players hit it shorter.
“They like to see people go out there and hit it 350 yards. I’m not sure what the issue is with it. I believe that is a skill, and I disagree with attempting to take that away.”
Thomas also implied that professional players might make their own rules and ignore the USGA and R&A in the process.
“It’s like, you know what, if you want to modify something based on your data that we feel is pretty skewed, wrong, and self-centered to what you believe in, maybe we’ll just develop our own or do our own thing,” Thomas explained.
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