(Reuters) – PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan ruled out his organisation creating its own rules on Wednesday, saying he is happy to leave that task to golf’s two global governing bodies.
The rules of golf have been in the spotlight after new ones were introduced for 2019, with the biggest update in 50 years leading some players to being openly critical of and in some cases hostile towards certain tournament rulings.
World number four Justin Thomas described the new rules as “terrible”, while journeyman Andrew Landry called them “garbage” and called for the PGA Tour to create its own.
Monahan, who recently reminded players that the tour had been heavily involved in the rewriting of the rules, on Wednesday strongly defended the “fantastic” U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient governing bodies.
“We have always played by their rules and we’ll continue to play by their rules,” he said in Florida on the eve of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
“We were fully supportive of the new rules because we were a participant in creating them.
“(When) you roll out 50 new changes there are going to be some things that work well and some that create debate. Lost in some of the discussion is all the things that are working really well.”
The change that appears to have caused most ire has been one that does not allow caddies to stand behind a player and help line up a shot.
This has led to a couple of two-stroke penalties, and also one situation in which a player had a penalty rescinded after officials acknowledged the new rule was causing confusion.
The wording was then tweaked in an effort to make it clearer.
Another bone of contention is that golfers must now drop the ball from knee height, rather than from shoulder height as previously.
Rickie Fowler was the first to fall foul of this when he took a penalty drop from shoulder height at the WGC-Mexico Championship and was penalised one stroke.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Alexander Smith)