The Player Advisory Council on the PGA Tour has reportedly opposed the USGA and the R&A’s plans on golf ball roll back.
According to Golf Channel, the 16-member PAC met with Mike Whan of the USGA and Martin Slumbers of the R&A at the Memorial Tournament to discuss the new proposed Model Local Rule that could be implemented as early as January 2026.
Other tour executives and tour commissioner Jay Monahan were also in attendance.
After a one-hour presentation by the two organisations, as well as a presentation by representatives from Titleist, Callaway, and Bridgestone, the consensus was players would not support bifurcation.
Achushnet, the company that owns Titleist and FootJoy, has previously said bifurcation “would be detrimental to golf’s long-term well-being.”
They are not on their own when it comes to equipment manufacturers. A TaylorMade survey found a large percentage of everyday golfers would be opposed to golf ball roll back.
It was the middle of March when the USGA and R&A announced plans to introduce a new MLR which could allow competition organisers to “use golf balls tested under modified launch conditions to address the impacts of hitting distance in golf.”
“I feel like that would be going against the grain strongly of what the sentiment is, and certainly off the back of yesterday, I think that would be surprising if that was just the thing that we did,” Adam Scott said, who is chairman of the PAC.
“I think there’d be some pushback on that from the membership.
“Ultimately, the players will end up deciding whether they want to mess around for two weeks with another ball. I really believe there’s a lot at stake here.
“The way the testing has been done as for the future, that’s hard to understand when we’re not there. We’re setting rules for future generations, which is how it’s been explained. Because that’s where they’re going.”
The players involved in Tuesday’s meeting allegedly gave the organisations “a chilly” welcome. Five-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler is a member of the PAC and also expressed doubt about the proposal.
“Some things they’re looking at are a bit skewed or looking too much at the top end or outliers versus averages and where things have been for the past 10 or 20 years where there really hasn’t been much movement or increases,” he said.
“The growth of distance is fairly insignificant. I don’t see it as a spot where we need change or as big of a change that’s being proposed.”
If the PGA Tour didn’t use the new golf ball in its tournaments, the game could find itself divided because the US Open and the Open would be played with the bifurcated golf ball.
“If they decide they are going to move forward then it comes back to us, the PGA Tour, to ultimately make a decision on whether we’d use the model of the local rule in competitions,” Andy Pazder said, the tour’s chief tournaments and competition’s officer.
“It’s way too early for me to theorise if we’d take one position or another.”
Soon after the proposal was announced three months ago, players such as Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, and Bubba Watson immediately rejected the motion.
Bryson DeChambeau arguably expressed the strongest view of all on the matter, describing roll back as “the most atrocious thing you could possibly do to the game of golf.”
However, Rory McIlroy has endorsed the idea and praised it for leaving alone recreational golfers and focusing on elite competitions.
“I know that’s a really unpopular opinion among my peers, but I think it’s going to help identify who the best players are a bit easier. Especially in this era of parity that we’ve been living in these past couple of decades,” McIlroy said to No Laying Up.
The longest hitters and those with the highest clubhead speeds could see up to 15 yards cut off their drives.
Keegan Bradley has since been critical of the USGA with who he admits he has a strange relationship, dating back to when changes were made to putter anchoring in 2013.
“I just feel like the USGA admits to making mistakes and then they punish the players for it,” he said. “I don’t feel like it’s our fault that they think that the ball went too far or that they should have banned the belly putter.
“They retroactively, decades later, try to adjust and then they just throw it on us. We do this as a living. This is how we make our living. I don’t think that’s necessarily fair that we pay for their mistakes.
“I think the USGA makes a lot of mistakes and I don’t feel as though us, the players, should have to pay for it. I don’t think that’s right.”
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