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jercra

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Distance limiting rules are fine. We have bunches of them already. Bifurcation will never stand. There's NO way the manufacturers or the players will stand for it.
 
Distance limiting rules are fine. We have bunches of them already. Bifurcation will never stand. There's NO way the manufacturers or the players will stand for it.
Why not? I mean, I don't entirely see the need for bifurcation here - they could just change these particular rules for everyone, and the average golfer wouldn't see any real difference - but the principle of keeping the game easy to play for amateur hackers but harder for the best players in the world seems eminently sensible. And it's not like Callaway et al. are suddenly going to need two entirely separate factories to produce two types of parallel-but-bifurcated equipment.
 

jercra

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Why not? I mean, I don't entirely see the need for bifurcation here - they could just change these particular rules for everyone, and the average golfer wouldn't see any real difference - but the principle of keeping the game easy to play for amateur hackers but harder for the best players in the world seems eminently sensible. And it's not like Callaway et al. are suddenly going to need two entirely separate factories to produce two types of parallel-but-bifurcated equipment.
It's not about practicality. The manufacturers pay a lot of money to sponsor Tour players. Tour players make a lot of money from sponsorships. The value of those sponsorships goes down if you're not playing the same equipment. "Play something vaguely similar to what Rory plays" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

To me, there's still a lot to be said for playing the same game under the same rules as the best of the best, but that's not why I think bifurcation won't happen. There are just a lot of other ways to "solve the problem" that don't impact the equipment manufacturers and could even make them more money and I think money will be a very big deciding factor. No one thinks anything of 460 CC limits or 1.5 smash factors or the elimination of square grooves or belly putters, etc.
 

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I don't see bifurcation as undermining sponsorship deals. My sense is that most of the changes that we might see implemented would be focussed on the driver (and perhaps to a lesser extent, fairway woods). The proposals specifically mention shaft length, club head size and COR. None of that would discourage an amateur golfer from buying a set of Rory's muscleback irons, or from playing a Taylormade SIM2 driver with a different shaft (or a hotter face).

Even without bifurcated rules, Callaway previously toyed with selling non-conforming versions of their drivers to amateurs with the ERC drivers around 2000. I can't find anything about sales impact, but anecdotally I recall those clubs being viewed as a novelty, but they didn't really impact how golfers viewed Callaway's other rules-conforming clubs.
 

jercra

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Even if the manufacturers and players agree, how would it even work? What's the bifurcation line? How would it work for things like open tournaments or the US Am and such? Are the rules different for qualifiers or does anyone who wants to try have to buy "professional" clubs? Do amateur clubs lose their current restrictions?

The whole thing is silly. If you don't think the current distances are good for the game then just change the ball for professionals. It's so much easier and it won't effect equipment sales at all. It would be super easy to mark them as confirming and be done with it. You'd still have the problem with amateur vs pro in open tourneys, but it's a lot easier to make people buy a dozen balls than a new set of woods.
 

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Sure, there will be some line drawing to be done at the outset, but it seems that the idea of bifurcation is aimed at reigning in distance at the top levels of golf. So I would guess that any bifurcated rules would cover the pro tours and open events. Events like the U.S. Am & qualifiers could go either way. Wherever the line is drawn, if you're serious about trying to compete or qualify your way into a national event or a pro tour, then you would need to have a conforming driver in your bag. For the remaining 99% of the golf world, tee up whatever you want.

From my perspective, it wouldn't be much different from baseball -- high school, college, and the pros have different rules for bat dimensions, composition, and performance characteristics. Players adapt to their circumstances.
 

cshea

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The Waste Managment without fans is going to be interesting. I imagine it'll lose a lot of luster. I've always liked the tournament, even if the party atmosphere is over the top. It has served me well as a time waster before the Patriots game.
 

TFP

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Golf Channel just showed footage of Rory doing the same thing as Reed in the rough on 18. Rory did not call a rules official over. Rory’s ball clearly bounced like Reed’s did.

The lift it first, ask questions later policy the Tour seems to encourage seems to give to basically give the players cover to play lift, clean and place in the rough.
Turns out - a volunteer stepped on Rory's ball.

View: https://twitter.com/RyanLavnerGC/status/1357031786899996673
 

Domer

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The Waste Managment without fans is going to be interesting. I imagine it'll lose a lot of luster. I've always liked the tournament, even if the party atmosphere is over the top. It has served me well as a time waster before the Patriots game.
They’re having 5,000 fans each day, down from the 8,000 originally planned.
 

Phragle

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It's not about practicality. The manufacturers pay a lot of money to sponsor Tour players. Tour players make a lot of money from sponsorships. The value of those sponsorships goes down if you're not playing the same equipment. "Play something vaguely similar to what Rory plays" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
You could be right about the last part, but as is people do play things that only look like what Rory plays. Made for shafts and tour issue heads are the first that come to mind. Rory's a good example because TM is the worst offender.

I'm generally against any roll back but a 46" and 440cc limit wouldn't be so bad. Don't touch the ball or the COR tho. The only roll back I'd actually like to see is putter length -- make people hold it with their hands. No one gives a fuck about putting tho
 

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IIRC, Ping and probably some of the other manufacturers have been saying ~440cc is the sweet spot for distance and forgiveness. The 460cc clubheads are so big they actually lose a mph or two of swing speed.

Re: whatever the USGA is thinking of doing, I'm looking forward to complaining about it endlessly.

Here's Rory getting a head start tearing into the USGA:

https://www.golfdigest.com/story/rory-mcilroy-usga-ra-distance
 
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Phragle

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The 440s are designed to spin a little less too

Rory is right. I don't like bifurcation but otherwise he's right. Golf needs to be more accessible for everyone and easier for all but like 10 golfers. Golf was in a tough spot before covid. I hope they don't forget that
 

jercra

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I'm against bifurcation. It's also clear the USGA is as well based on the things said in the report. I also wholeheartedly disagree with Rory on his assessment that only Tour pros are serious about golf so everyone else should be able to play whatever they want. I play a lot of competitive golf and I would absolutely hate playing against people who can just buy an extra 50 yards and dead straight off the tee because there's no more regulation on "amateurs".

Bifurcation is such a silly way to "solve" the problem when there are so many other solutions that could be implemented. The problem isn't the distance, it's the scores as a result of the difference that's causing consternation So, why not do things that will have a large impact on pros but a low impact on amateurs. For instance, keep current limits on COR and head sizes and ball physics but change the grooves on clubs again to make controlling spin even harder. That will impact the pros a LOT more than most people who don't spin the ball with wedges already. They'll hit it significantly further from the hole and make fewer birdies. Or, like @Phragle says, put limits on putters length and anchoring.

Bifurcation in baseball isn't a good argument to me. Golf isn't baseball. I can't go out tomorrow and face Chris Sale at Fenway, but I can book a tee time at Torrey Pines or TPC Scottsdale and play the exact same course and conditions as the pros play in golf. Losing that will take a lot away from the game people play on their own as well as the enjoyment of watching the best play.
 

TFP

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I play a lot of competitive golf and I would absolutely hate playing against people who can just buy an extra 50 yards and dead straight off the tee because there's no more regulation on "amateurs".
Wait what? Who is saying that? I don’t think that a) any changes they make would change your game that much if you followed the rules or b) would even apply to the events you play in competitively. No one is saying remove regulation on amateurs, it’s to allow for local rules for pros to further limit the tech.


The problem isn't the distance, it's the scores as a result of the difference that's causing consternation
The problem isn’t the scores, it’s the distance.


but I can book a tee time at Torrey Pines or TPC Scottsdale and play the exact same course and conditions as the pros play in golf
No you can’t.

I’m not entirely sure where I fall in the end. But let’s at least work with facts and what’s being proposed here.
 

jercra

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Wait what? Who is saying that? I don’t think that a) any changes they make would change your game that much if you followed the rules or b) would even apply to the events you play in competitively. No one is saying remove regulation on amateurs, it’s to allow for local rules for pros to further limit the tech.
Well, Rory said it:
"...99.9 percent of the people play this game play for enjoyment, for entertainment,” McIlroy said. “They don't need to be told what ball or clubs to use."
And it was said up thread:
Sure, there will be some line drawing to be done at the outset, but it seems that the idea of bifurcation is aimed at reigning in distance at the top levels of golf. So I would guess that any bifurcated rules would cover the pro tours and open events. Events like the U.S. Am & qualifiers could go either way. Wherever the line is drawn, if you're serious about trying to compete or qualify your way into a national event or a pro tour, then you would need to have a conforming driver in your bag. For the remaining 99% of the golf world, tee up whatever you want.

The problem isn’t the scores, it’s the distance.
I don't understand. Who is opposed to distance on its own? If everyone were hitting it 400 yards and shooting 5 over on every round, wouldn't this discussion be very different?

No you can’t.
I've played Torrey Pines with all of the grandstands up a few weeks before the Farmers. I've played Sawgrass in the last tee time before The Players. I've played Pumpkin Ridge on the Monday before and after the Safeway (LPGA). I'm not sure what you're getting at, but you can definitely play the same courses in, at least, very similar conditions to Tour players.
 

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Well, Rory said it:
View: https://twitter.com/J_Irish12/status/1356989554021048323?s=20


This has literally nothing to do with changing anything around the equipment we play. Any discussion around amateur equipment is a smokescreen.

And yes, I saw saw Rory’s statement on behalf of TaylorMade.
I've played Torrey Pines with all of the grandstands up a few weeks before the Farmers. I've played Sawgrass in the last tee time before The Players. I've played Pumpkin Ridge on the Monday before and after the Safeway (LPGA). I'm not sure what you're getting at, but you can definitely play the same courses in, at least, very similar conditions to Tour players.
Despite being one of the most privileged golfers here (which is awesome, I’m jealous), you’re still not playing from the same tees, with the same pins, the same green speeds, or same conditions. On the off chance you can actually get a tee time then it’s still not “exactly the same”.

“I took BP in an empty Fenway once with a metal bat. I played in the exact same condictions and ballpark as Big Papi.”
 

TFP

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I don’t even know if I’m pro-bifurcation. But let’s at least discuss the bifurcation being proposed, not some crazy hypothetical that amateurs are buying 50 yards of distance and playing Tour courses at 7700 yards running 13 on the stimp with grown out rough combined witn immaculate greens and bunkers.
 

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Jecra, I probably expressed myself poorly upthread. I did not mean to suggest that amateur golf should become a free-for-all with no rules on clubs, just that under a bifurcated system the pros would adhere to a stricter set of local rules. The rest of the golfing public could continue playing with their clubs that conform to the existing rules -- or, if they want, for whatever reason, they could elect to play clubs that adhere to the stricter "pro" standards.

Tangentially, at the end of last season my regular playing group went out on a Sunday afternoon with old clubs we scrounged up from various basements. I played with a set of Spaulding muscleback irons and persimmon woods that were probably from the 80's -- the irons were fairly similar to the hand-me-down set I used when I first picked up the game around 12-13 years old. I recommend trying that out for a fun change-of-pace match, but it was really eye-opening how far equipment has come. I can't imagine trying to pick the game up cold with clubs like that today.
 
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TFP

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The discussion around where to draw the line under bifurcation is a valid one.

The idea rhat the average golfer will be hurt by bifurcation is way way below any line that will be drawn. 90% (to pull of a number out of my ass) of golfers never play in a sanctioned stroke play tournament.
 

FL4WL3SS

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The discussion around where to draw the line under bifurcation is a valid one.

The idea rhat the average golfer will be hurt by bifurcation is way way below any line that will be drawn. 90% (to pull of a number out of my ass) of golfers never play in a sanctioned stroke play tournament.
Not sure what you're so upset about. The average golfer won't be hurt, but it's sure going to make for some awkward local rules and club events.

I have no idea why they aren't addressing this with the ball, it seems so simple.
 

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I’m not remotely approachly upset. I’m pumped the Bruins won tonight and am in a great mood.

I agree looking at the ball would be a good place too. My thoughts around “equipment changes” include both the ball and the clubs.
 

jercra

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I’m not remotely approachly upset. I’m pumped the Bruins won tonight and am in a great mood.

I agree looking at the ball would be a good place too. My thoughts around “equipment changes” include both the ball and the clubs.
Well, now I'm upset. I have the Bruins game DVR'd and was planning to watch it when the wife went to bed. I guess you saved me some time :)

And, like I said upthread, bifurcation on clubs is bad for everyone. If you must, and that's still debatable, just make a pro ball. There's still the question of where to draw the line, but at least the barrier to entry will be a $50 box of balls and new a different set of clubs.
 

TFP

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Well, now I'm upset. I have the Bruins game DVR'd and was planning to watch it when the wife went to bed. I guess you saved me some time :)
Oh shit my bad dude. I feel legitimately bad. I blame FL4WL3SS.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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I'm looking forward to:

a) buying a closet full of balls before the USGA ruins the ball with whatever changes they're planning;
b) current generation drivers costing a small fortune on the use marked because the new stuff is nerfed; and
c) manufacturers spending a bajillion dollars on R&D so they can sell a $2,000 driver that performs like current equipment.
 

cshea

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Fowler is in a featured group this morning. He has low key sucked for a long time. His last top 10 was over a year ago at the 2020 American Express. As a result, he's dropped to 62nd in the world. His Players and other winners exemptions have run out so he's not currently qualified for the Masters or the WGC's (except probably the match play which is 64 plus guys will skip it). He only has 3 or 4 more starts to get back into the top 50 and play at Augusta.

Anyways, Scottsdale does look different without the massive crowds. Particularly around the greens where they are usually 5-10 deep up on the banks.
 

Phragle

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I'm looking forward to:

a) buying a closet full of balls before the USGA ruins the ball with whatever changes they're planning;
b) current generation drivers costing a small fortune on the use marked because the new stuff is nerfed; and
c) manufacturers spending a bajillion dollars on R&D so they can sell a $2,000 driver that performs like current equipment.
I wouldn't quit if they nerfed the equipment now, but I would have at one point. Taking away 30 yards of carry would be a great way to kill the game
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
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I wouldn't quit if they nerfed the equipment now, but I would have at one point. Taking away 30 yards of carry would be a great way to kill the game
Thinking through it, if the USGA nerfs equipment do we think golfers are going to play a shorter course? I doubt it, especially with so many playing from too far back already. They're just going to be more of a mess out there and take longer to play.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
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Have the USGA and R&A suggested, implied or even hinted at changes which would make things more difficult for the average golfer? Isn't the entire point of bifurcation to ensure that this doesn't happen?
I'll believe bifurcation actually happens, and the vast majority of players won't be impacted, when that actually happens. Until then, there's no reason to think they wouldn't ruin equipment for the 99.999% of us who aren't professionals.
 

jercra

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I find bifurcation highly unlikely based on comments from the USGA's director of equipment standards (from golf digest):
He stressed that continuing with one set of playing rules for all golfers remains paramount: “It’s one of the great attributes that really bind us to the game and allows us to play the same golf courses under the same playing rules with the same equipment. We think that’s an important aspect of what we’re doing.”
I think they will find other ways to impact the pros with little or no impact on amateurs. 46" shafts, limit driver loft minimums to something like 7*, 440 head sizes, enforce 1.5 COR, etc. Jack Nicklaus used to drive it over 300 back in the 60s. I don't think they need to do much to get back to Jack/Tiger distances. Now that Bryson is slimming down, maybe the whole debate goes away anyway.
 
I'll believe bifurcation actually happens, and the vast majority of players won't be impacted, when that actually happens. Until then, there's no reason to think they wouldn't ruin equipment for the 99.999% of us who aren't professionals.
If what you're worried about were to actually happen, that would be a hammer blow to the entire sport. I mean, @Phragle suggesting that these changes are going to take 30 yards off of everyone's carry distance with a driver is right up there with some of the QAnon nutjob conspiracy theories as far as ridiculous paranoia is concerned.
 

Phragle

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If what you're worried about were to actually happen, that would be a hammer blow to the entire sport. I mean, @Phragle suggesting that these changes are going to take 30 yards off of everyone's carry distance with a driver is right up there with some of the QAnon nutjob conspiracy theories as far as ridiculous paranoia is concerned.
Studies say a soy based diet will reduce carry distance by 30 yards. I saw the documents on 4chan.
 

BaseballJones

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I guess I don't really understand the downside to bifurcation. I see it like baseball. You can use all kinds of metal or composite bats all you want until you play in a league that doesn't allow it. Like a pro league or even some amateur leagues that have such rules. Otherwise, the normal amateur, the little leaguer, the high school kid, the college player, the guy playing in an adult league....they can all use all kinds of other bats. But if you're a pro, nope. So for college players, this requires an adjustment. Well you know what? That's the price to pay for being a pro. You change equipment. Does that stop sales of these high-end metal bats at lower levels? No way. Amateurs are still trying to use the best equipment possible.

What's the downside to this? In golf, if the clubs are regulated more strictly for the pros, or in any pro event, how does that really impact guys like us that want to play? Are we really NOT going to use whatever we want just because Rory has to use a different, more highly-regulated, driver? I don't see it at all.

As for an amateur wanting to play in a pro event...the moment you step into a pro event, you gotta play by pro rules. So an amateur who normally uses a super powerful driver entering qualifying for the US Open...well, he's gotta use pro-regulated equipment at that point. That's the deal.

I honestly don't really see the issue at all.
 

cshea

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Is that Jordan Spieth's music I hear? -3 through 5 and has 30 feet for eagle on 15. -7 and in the top 10. So good PGA Tour Live just dumped Webb Simpson's group for Spieth.

*ducks*
 

voidfunkt

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Is that Jordan Spieth's music I hear? -3 through 5 and has 30 feet for eagle on 15. -7 and in the top 10. So good PGA Tour Live just dumped Webb Simpson's group for Spieth.
Great we will get Speith implosion on Saturday.
 

SoxJox

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Otherwise, the normal amateur, the little leaguer, the high school kid, the college player, the guy playing in an adult league....they can all use all kinds of other bats.
Not to digress from the golf discussion, but you'll need to exclude college baseball players from that list. The NCAA imposed new restrictions in 2011 that requires metal bats to basically perform - exit-velocity-wise - similarly to wooden bats. So they're not free to use "all kinds of other bats".
 

cshea

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Spieth -5 through 10 and tied with Xander for the lead. This one looks a little different than some of the other times he’s gotten into contention recently. He seems to be driving and striking it well.