Justin Thomas slams USGA, R&A proposal to modify golf balls and limit distances: ‘It’s so bad’
Justin Thomas is unhappy with what the USGA and R&A announced this week.
Thomas, ahead of the Valspar championship on Wednesday, protested a proposed plan to weaken the golf ball for elite male players.
“You’re trying to find a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said. “It’s so bad for playing golf.”
On Tuesday the two governing bodies of golf announced the plan this will force golfers to use a modified ball designed to limit distance. The proposal, which goes into effect in 2026, if passed, would reduce driver distance by about 15 yards. This will only affect top golfers, not amateurs.
Golf balls, according to ESPN, must meet requirements not to exceed a total distance of 320 yards when carried and thrown.
Tour players are averaging just over 297 yards on drives this season. Both the USGA and the R&A have stated that distances are increasing by about 1 yard per year, and that this chance will help keep the game stable for decades to come.
“If we just don’t do anything, we pass it on to the next generation and all golf courses around the world so they just understand,” said USGA CEO Mike Wang. via ESPN.
If the PGA Tour does not accept this rule change, golfers will only have to use the modified balls twice a year at the US Open and UK Open.
“So for two of the four biggest events of the year we will have to use a different ball? For example, try to explain to me how it is better for playing golf,” Thomas said. “And they base it on the top 0.1% of all golfers. If you know what I mean?
“I don’t know how many of you play golf here 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 is just not even fun anymore. . Like, no, it’s not — it’s just not reality.”
Of course, now golfers are hitting the ball further than ever before. In 1997, John Daly was the first golfer to average over 300 yards of teeing. Now this season, 83 players are averaging at least 300 yards from the tee. Rory McIlroy leads with 326.6 yards. Thomas averages 305.6 yards from the tee, the 40th best on the Tour.
But golf, like other sports, is evolving. To stop this natural development, according to Thomas, simply does not make sense.
“People run faster, so what are they going to do to make the mile longer so that the time of the fastest mile doesn’t change? Or are they going to put the NBA hoop at 13 feet because now people can jump higher?” Thomas asked.
– Like, no. This is evolution. We are athletes now. Like, we practice to hit the ball farther and faster, and if you can do it, it’s good for you.”