Proposed 2023 Golf Ball Rules

LIV Golf star Bryson DeChambeau has slammed “excruciating” new rule proposals that could see elite tournaments allowed to ban the longest balls.

Earlier this week, the USGA and R&A introduced the “Model Local Rule,” which would give individual tournaments the option of requiring a ball that travels approximately 10m less than the current tour average.

The proposed new rule, if accepted, would come into effect in January 2026.

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DeChambeau – statistically the longest hitter in the game – said event organizers should make courses more difficult rather than simply restricting how far players can hit the ball.

“If you could say I’m the opposite of 1,000 times that’s what I would be,” he told the LIV Golf website.

“It’s a big handicap for us guys, who have worked really hard to learn how to hit farther.

“Look, if they do it in a way that only affects the top end, I see the logic. But I think that’s the most excruciating thing you can do in golf. It’s not about rolling back golf balls; it’s about making golf courses harder.

“It’s the least imaginative, least inspiring, most cutting thing you can do. Everybody wants to see people hit farther. That’s part of the reason a lot of people love what I do. .That’s part of the reason a lot of people don’t like what I do.”

Speaking to the media ahead of the Valspar Championship in Florida starting Thursday night (AEDT), world number 10 Justin Thomas called the proposal “selfish” and “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist”.

“My reaction was disappointed and not surprised either, to be honest. I think the USGA over the years has – in my eyes, it’s tough, but made some pretty selfish decisions,” he said. he declares.

“In my mind, (they) have done a lot of things that are not for the betterment of the game, although they say so.

“I don’t understand how it makes the game grow. For them to say in the same sentence that golf is in the best place it’s ever been is fine, but…

“And I’m like, well, there shouldn’t be any buts. You’re trying to create a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

One of the fundamental rules and traditions of golf is that weekend hackers can play with exactly the same equipment as touring professionals.

Thomas – who plays Titleist balls, by far the most used ball on tour – said it was one of the best things about the sport.

“For an everyday amateur golfer, it’s very unique that we can play with the exact same equipment…you can go to the pro shop and buy the same golf ball that I play with or that Scottie Scheffler is playing or whatever,” he said.

“But the USGA wants to take it to a point where it’s not. They want it to be, ‘Okay, well, the pros play this way and the amateurs play this way,’ and it’s just not – I don’t understand how that’s better for the game of golf.”

Thomas then compared the change to track and field events extending the length of races to keep the times the same.

“People are running faster, (so) are they just going to make the length a mile longer so the fastest time doesn’t change, or are they going to put the NBA hoop at 13 feet because people can jump higher now?

“It’s an evolution. We’re athletes now. We train to hit the ball further and faster and if you can do that, good for you.”

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