Justin Thomas, Sam Burns rip rollback proposal: ‘Disappointed’, ‘Pretty silly’

The proposal by the USGA and the R&A to change the way golf balls are tested in elite competitions was met with strong backlash from those who felt the change was unnecessary.

Justin Thomas and Sam Burns were asked about the offer ahead of this week’s Valspar Championship and didn’t hold back with their criticism.

Central golf

USGA, R&A Unfold Elite Rollback Plan

OT Brentley Romaine

The USGA and R&A have announced a proposal that by January 2026 will change the standard for testing golf balls used in elite competitions to a model local rule.

Thomas: “My reaction was disappointed and, frankly, not surprised. I think the USGA over the years, in my opinion, is harsh but makes pretty selfish decisions. They definitely, in my opinion, did a lot of things not to improve the game, although they say so. I’ve had conversations with some members of the USGA, and I just don’t understand how this develops the game. For them to say in the same sentence that golf is in the best place it has ever been, everything is fine, but. And I’m like, well, there shouldn’t be a but. You are trying to find a solution to a non-existent problem. For me, it’s just so bad for playing golf… I mean, one of the great things about me is the fact that you can play exactly the same golf ball as me. I mean, it’s cool.

“It’s very unique for the everyday golfer that we can play on the same equipment. Yes, I understand that I may have a different grind on the wedge, whatever you want to call it, but you can go to a pro store and buy the same golf ball that I play, or Scotty Scheffler, or whatever. this kind. But the USGA wants to take things to the point where that’s not the case. They want it to be like this, okay, the pros play like this and the amateurs like this, and that’s just not… I don’t see how it’s better for golf. The amount of time and money these manufacturers have spent trying to create the best possible product and now you are going to tell them and us that we have to start over if the PGA Tour, the PGA of America, does not accept this local rule. So for two of the four biggest events of the year, we’ll have to use a different ball? Like, try to explain to me how it is better for playing golf.

“And they base it on the top 0.1 percent of golfers. If you know what I mean? I don’t know how many of you here play golf all the time, but I promise that none of you came from the golf course and said, “You know, today I hit so far and straight that golf just isn’t even fun anymore. Like, no, it’s not – it’s just not reality. So, I know I’ve been ranting a bit, but this annoys me because it aligns with what I feel is the decisions and things that the USGA has done in the past when it comes to rules or whatever and data. I mean what is that speed of 127 miles per hour? Like, if you can get to 127 miles an hour, like, power on you. I mean, are people running faster, so are they just going to increase the length of the mile so that the fastest mile time doesn’t change, or are they going to put the NBA hoop at 13 feet because people can now jump higher? Like, no. This is evolution. We are athletes now. Like, we train to hit the ball further and faster, and if you can do it, then it’s good for you. So yeah, as you can see, I’m clearly against it.”

Burns: “Personally, I think it’s pretty stupid. I would say that if you look at golf over the past few years, I think the game has grown a lot. At the end of the day, no matter what it is, we are a recreational sport and I think, I don’t think people will necessarily want to come here and watch guys hit shorter. They like to watch guys come out and hit for 350 yards. I don’t see what the problem is. I think it’s a skill and I don’t really agree with the attempts to take it away.”


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