What the locker room is say­ing about the rules changes

Un­der­cover Tour Pro

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - The Loop - Let­ting golfers fix spike marks is go­ing to be a dis­as­ter for slow play. Drop­ping a ball from any height baf­fles me.

im­pler is bet­ter. It’s a truth that per­tains to ev­ery­thing in life. That’s why I’m in fa­vor of the pro­posed “mod­ern­iza­tion” that will cut The Rules of Golf from 34 to 24. I don’t agree with all the changes, but I like the spirit of the un­der­tak­ing.

Many of my fel­low play­ers are not as open-minded. Among us, there ex­ists a strong bias against the USGA. When Far Hills made the an­nounce­ment, the vibe on the range was a caus­tic, “What the heck do those guys know about golf?” It’s un­fair, but that’s the per­cep­tion pros have. We in­ter­act with the USGA once a year at the U.S. Open, which from our view is usu­ally a de­ba­cle. Five or six things that feel ridicu­lously un­fair are guar­an­teed to hap­pen to you that week, like los­ing a

Sball in the rough one yard off the fair­way, or see­ing your stopped ball sud­denly roll 30 feet off a green. Un­less you’re the guy hold­ing the tro­phy at the end, you leave bit­ter. Even though the R&A is equally in­volved in the changes, Amer­i­can play­ers don’t have the same an­tipa­thy to­ward that or­ga­ni­za­tion. If the pro­posal had come from the In­ter­na­tional Golf Fed­er­a­tion, it’d have been bet­ter re­ceived.

The USGA didn’t help re­la­tions by hav­ing a guy go­ing around at Riviera this year, os­ten­si­bly ask­ing our opin­ions on the rules. The press re­lease that landed two weeks later was clearly pretty much al­ready writ­ten. I was aware of the project, but I had no idea how dras­tic the changes would be. I’m not sure peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate yet just how much this will change the game.

I won’t sub­mit writ­ten feed­back to the USGA, but here’s what I’ll tell Mike Davis (with whom I have good rap­port) the next time I see him.

We’ve all missed and made putts be­cause of spike marks. A lot of pros are ob­ses­sives, and they’re go­ing to be tamp, tamp, tamp­ing all day.

It’s the most talked-about change on tour, and none of us can work out what’s wrong with the cur­rent method. Are we go­ing to have of­fi­cials ly­ing on their stom­achs to en­sure balls are in fact dropped, not placed?

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