Are tour players entitled to whinge about the new Rules of Golf in public?

Rules of Golf

Is it acceptable for the players to air their dirty laundry in public or should they keep schtum? Mark Townsend offers both sides of the coin

Golf has become a free-for-all in recent weeks with the great and good of the game having their say on what they make of the new Rules of Golf.

The sport has seen nothing like it, in relative terms, and the players haven’t been able to help themselves..

Are tour players entitled to whinge about the new Rules of Golf?

Yes, says Mark Townsend

Of course they are. They’re grown adults and can do what they want. They left school a long time ago, some of them anyway.

This is their livelihood and when you’ve been doing something for decades and then two governing bodies, who you’re not that fond of to start with, mix your world up then they’re going to have your say.

And they’re going to huddle up in the locker room and hatch a plan to all sing from the same song sheet so that the authorities can’t ignore them. They’re the stars and this is their stage and everyone knows it.

They might all be taking money off one another but there’s a sense of huge injustice about some of these incidents. The bottom line being, where’s the advantage to any of these things?

The caddie’s their right-hand man so they’re going to want to talk about visuals and landing spots. This is what they do for a living.

Forget bifurcation, we’re talking about how to drop a golf ball, let’s all play the same game wherever possible and let’s do it in a manner that doesn’t make any of them look ridiculous.

They’re the ones splashed all over the TV screens or social media looking inane so why on earth shouldn’t they be allowed to defend themselves?

People moan about how corporate golfers have become, this is just them standing up for themselves and for what they believe in.

Rules of Golf

No, says Mark Townsend

They’ve known this was coming for years, they could have done their homework a lot better and been far better prepared for all this. This wasn’t just sprung on anyone.

They AND their caddie have access to officials and meetings and they know they have to be squeaky clean when it comes to the rules. They might be ambiguous in places but this is their job so don’t give the authorities an excuse to step in.

You don’t hear the women bleating week after week do you and they’re playing under the same new regulations?

Look at both codes of rugby and their respect for the referee, this is where we want to be going. Make the game better, think before taking straight to Twitter.

They’re meant to be role models for those thinking of trying to getting into the game. We all talk about ‘growing the game’, bleating on Twitter is tearing it to pieces.

There’s a way to making a stand and pretending to take a dump in the middle of the fairway in the marquee group isn’t it.

We all know the knee-high drop looks silly but we’re only a few weeks into all this so just drop it. It’s not overly hard, keep your leg straight, hold your hand out at knee high and release the ball. It will all be over within a few seconds.

In what other sport do the players have a say in the making up of the rules? So get your head down and get on with your job.

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For more information on the new Rules of Golf visit the R&A or USGA websites.

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