2023 PGA Tour

Doug Beerabelli

Killer Threads
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
If the ball is dialed back a bit, and amateurs are forced to play it because if tournament rules, ir manufacturers only make those type of balls, perhaps a solution is to shorten course distances for players (Aka choice of tee - red, green, white, blue etc).

Which is already an option, although often the ego must be defeated for it to be chosen.
 

TFP

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
20,403
I think it's obvious: the USGA and many golfers simply are living in different worlds. The USGA is backward looking, conservative, and bastion of the a world that is long gone. The game has changed dramatically over last 20+ years and many of the players are younger and don't care at all about golf's history or the old guard. It's a clash of civilizations.

Consider the USGA's equipment rulings over the years--e.g., Ping's wedge grooves, whatever they thought they were doing with ball requirements in the 90s, anchored putters, grooves again a decade ago--all of which could be viewed as arbitrary nonsense. Sprinkle in a dose of being beholden to the rich elite at some the old historic clubs who want to flaunt the pros playing on their tracks and you have recipe for complete distrust of their motives and purpose.
Lol man - who at the USGA hurt you? I don't think any of that is obvious at all to me, but to each their own. But in their forward looking opinion, more and more courses are becoming obsolete for all of their tournaments and they're the only organization(s) whose mission statement is to think about the overall state of the game 20+ years from now. Agree or disagree with their decisions here (which is totally fine), thinking that Tour players or equipment manufacturers give one shit about the game 20 years from now is pretty naive. I'm not saying the USGA is necessarily correct, but I am saying they're undoubtedly thinking about the long term future of the game when going through this.

The PGA Tour (and us amateur hacks) are free to ignore this MLR and keep playing the balls they want.
 

Senator Donut

post-Domer
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
5,643
Lol man - who at the USGA hurt you? I don't think any of that is obvious at all to me, but to each their own. But in their forward looking opinion, more and more courses are becoming obsolete for all of their tournaments and they're the only organization(s) whose mission statement is to think about the overall state of the game 20+ years from now. Agree or disagree with their decisions here (which is totally fine), thinking that Tour players or equipment manufacturers give one shit about the game 20 years from now is pretty naive. I'm not saying the USGA is necessarily correct, but I am saying they're undoubtedly thinking about the long term future of the game when going through this.

The PGA Tour (and us amateur hacks) are free to ignore this MLR and keep playing the balls they want.
I'm mostly with TFP on this. The key point is that this is forward-looking. It's imperative to me that the beloved golden-era courses are still able to host the world's best players well into this century. It's unknowable if distance will continue to progress at one yard per year, but a clear trend has been established. Distance has already proved to be an issue with long drivers clearing range nets at tournaments and famous holes having all strategy removed, but this has the potential to get even worse. What the USGA and R&A did was simply substitute one set of arbitrary testing standards (club speed, rpm, et cetera) for another.

I do however see a downside. If you're a good enough recreational player to play events like the Mass Mid-Am (and I am not including myself in this) then this will be a hassle. You'll essentially have two sets of yardages for conforming and non-confirming balls.
 

FL4WL3SS

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
14,980
Andy Brickley's potty mouth
Didn't MLB use like 10 different balls this year? And that was without even telling anyone, so both hitters and pitchers had to guess. At least the pros get to pick their own ball. They will all get it dialed in within a month and this will be a nothing-burger.
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,163
Arvada, Co
I'm mostly with TFP on this. The key point is that this is forward-looking. It's imperative to me that the beloved golden-era courses are still able to host the world's best players well into this century. It's unknowable if distance will continue to progress at one yard per year, but a clear trend has been established. Distance has already proved to be an issue with long drivers clearing range nets at tournaments and famous holes having all strategy removed, but this has the potential to get even worse. What the USGA and R&A did was simply substitute one set of arbitrary testing standards (club speed, rpm, et cetera) for another.
Yes, this is the original point. The USGA cares about scores on "beloved golden-era" courses. The problem isn't distance, it's forgiveness. And the problem is only with the driver, not the other clubs, so why limit the ball. The objection is not to doing "something", it's to the something they chose to do.

I do however see a downside. If you're a good enough recreational player to play events like the Mass Mid-Am (and I am not including myself in this) then this will be a hassle. You'll essentially have two sets of yardages for conforming and non-confirming balls.
This was the point I was trying to make in my original response.
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,163
Arvada, Co
Didn't MLB use like 10 different balls this year? And that was without even telling anyone, so both hitters and pitchers had to guess. At least the pros get to pick their own ball. They will all get it dialed in within a month and this will be a nothing-burger.
That's not really the point though. Why make this particular change? If it will have no effect, why do it? If they really wanted to limit distance off the tee, there were lots of other options that don't cause any bifurcation.
 

TFP

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
20,403
That's not really the point though. Why make this particular change? If it will have no effect, why do it? If they really wanted to limit distance off the tee, there were lots of other options that don't cause any bifurcation.
You keep asking these questions and they've been answered. You just don't like the answers and are ignoring them.
 

TFP

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
20,403
I do however see a downside. If you're a good enough recreational player to play events like the Mass Mid-Am (and I am not including myself in this) then this will be a hassle. You'll essentially have two sets of yardages for conforming and non-confirming balls.
While this is true (assuming the MGA adopts the rule), it's no different than playing in the wind, in different temps, or different altitudes. Elite players (even at the mid-am level) adjust to distances all the damn time. The pros went to freaking 7,000 ft of altitude in Mexico (a bigger distance adjustment) and absolutely nuked that course.

The good players will adjust pretty damn quickly. The whining (not by you, but by the Tour players and others associated with the Tour) is amazing to me. Pampered fucks indeed.
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,163
Arvada, Co
Shorter driver shafts., smaller driver heads, minimum driver lofts, less driver forgiveness, plant some trees, add some lakes, add some bunkers. pros can only use 10 clubs, maximum lofts, restrictions on club materials, etc. I could come up with a nearly endless way to make golf harder for elite players
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,163
Arvada, Co
You keep asking these questions and they've been answered. You just don't like the answers and are ignoring them.
While this is true (assuming the MGA adopts the rule), it's no different than playing in the wind, in different temps, or different altitudes. Elite players (even at the mid-am level) adjust to distances all the damn time. The pros went to freaking 7,000 ft of altitude in Mexico (a bigger distance adjustment) and absolutely nuked that course.

The good players will adjust pretty damn quickly. The whining (not by you, but by the Tour players and others associated with the Tour) is amazing to me. Pampered fucks indeed.
I haven't had a chance to read any commentary from tour players about this. Who's been whining about it?
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
36,637
306, row 14
Shorter driver shafts., smaller driver heads, minimum driver lofts, less driver forgiveness, plant some trees, add some lakes, add some bunkers. pros can only use 10 clubs, maximum lofts, restrictions on club materials, etc. I could come up with a nearly endless way to make golf harder for elite players
These all seem far more intrusive than simply rolling back the golf ball for the elite players. If you touch the technology on one club, you have to touch them all otherwise you'll end up with a messed up scale of clubs. Adding hazards doesn't really address the problem. It's a temporary solution, and a costly one at that. Courses are supposed to spend a ton of money now to re-design to add hazards that challenge the pro's, then do it all over again in 25 years when the distance gains continue and these new hazards are obsolete?
 

TFP

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
20,403
I haven't had a chance to read any commentary from tour players about this. Who's been whining about it?
JT, Charley Hoffman, Ben An, Webb Simpson to start.

JT doing it while wearing a giant Titleist hat is especially rich.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
36,637
306, row 14
Forgive another post, but I just read JT's full comments. I had previously only seen the headlines. I love JT but boy does he sound like a dumbass.

A first complaint is that this will ruin the whole amateurs using the same equipment as the pro's thing. Does JT really think we think he goes into the pro shop prior to each round and pays $50 for an off the shelf box of ProV's? He goes to his local Dick's and purchases his woods, irons and wedges off the shelf too? No. Please. He spends hours with Titleist customizinig eveything in his bag, including the ball. Additionally, as far as I can tell, the rolled back ball will be available for purchase for amateurs so if people want to play what the pro's play they can.Then he goes on and on about how no amateur has ever walked off the golf course lamenting that they hit the ball too far. Good news, Justin. That's not changing. Your ball is changing, not the weekend hacker.

He moves on to saying that people who can achieve high swing speeds should be rewarded as such. Guess what, Justin...they are! The pleyers who can swing the hardest will still hit the ball the farthest, the roll back will proportinately impact each pro. It's not like Kevin Kisner's distance is staying the same and you're losing 20 yards off the tee. The long hitters will still be the long hitters and probably have even more of an advantage (a point he eventually concedes).
 

TFP

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Dec 10, 2007
20,403
These all seem far more intrusive than simply rolling back the golf ball for the elite players. If you touch the technology on one club, you have to touch them all otherwise you'll end up with a messed up scale of clubs. Adding hazards doesn't really address the problem. It's a temporary solution, and a costly one at that. Courses are supposed to spend a ton of money now to re-design to add hazards that challenge the pro's, then do it all over again in 25 years when the distance gains continue and these new hazards are obsolete?
And has been stated by the USGA/R&A and us in here, the point isn't to make golf harder for elite players. It's to make the ball go not as far to ease the macro scale burden and cost for golf courses, especially thinking 20 years into the future.

The easiest and simplest way to make the ball not go as far for everyone who hits it too far is to change the ball. It's pretty straightforward.

A first complaint is that this will ruin the whole amateurs using the same equipment as the pro's thing.
Amen. We don't play the same game or equipment as them. Titleist has Tour only balls (which sometimes make it to market) and Adam Scott is showing off his new 1 of 1 set of Miura irons at the Players. We also dont play the same courses, tees, or conditions as them (except in very rare times). It's a different version of the same sport.
 
Last edited:

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,292
Yep this has been my point all along. Cut back on the tech for the pros, but not for everyone else. (Well if you’re an amateur playing in a pro event you are held to the same tech limitations as the pros)

Guys like me will still be able to buy the longest balls and the longest drivers etc but the pros won’t.

Just like wooden bats in baseball. It’s not slowing down the advancements in bat technology for amateurs. You just can’t use it at the pro levels.

I don’t understand why the pros would even care here.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
36,637
306, row 14
Why is it rich?

Man there are so many strong reactions, it's kind of a silly topic to get fired up about.
I really don't get why there is so much complaining for the Tour pro's. Realize he is a LIV guy but here's Bryson:

https://golf.com/news/bryson-dechambeau-rips-new-golf-ball-rules/

“It’s a great handicap for us guys that have worked really hard to learn how to hit it farther,” DeChambeau said. “I think it’s the most atrocious thing that you could possibly do to the game of golf. It’s not about rolling golf balls back; it’s about making golf courses more difficult.”
I'm confused as to why so many of them think they are losing the distance advantage they worked hard to get. They aren't. The guys who hit it the fartherst will still hit it the farthest. It's not like they are handing the ball only to players who average more than 315 off the tee or whatever and the rest of the field can use the non-rolled back ball. JT is still gong to drive it past Kevin Kisner by 30 yards. It's just going to be 300 - 270 instead of 330-300.

They also seem to think the point of this is to make the game harder which isn't accurate. Grow the rough! Put in a lake! are common refrains. Maybe this sentiment is born out of Tour players general mistrust of the USGA from questionable US Open setups, but the point of this is to not make the game harder. They are trying to make it sustainable and at the current rate of distance gains, eventually courses will run out of real estate.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,292
They also seem to think the point of this is to make the game harder which isn't accurate. Grow the rough! Put in a lake! are common refrains. Maybe this sentiment is born out of Tour players general mistrust of the USGA from questionable US Open setups, but the point of this is to not make the game harder. They are trying to make it sustainable and at the current rate of distance gains, eventually courses will run out of real estate.
Exactly. What's Pebble Beach supposed to do if/when guys are hitting 400 yards off the tee? Here's a look at 18. The tee is in the lower right, next to the 17th green. The green is on the left, right in front of the clubhouse.

62311

The hole already plays at 541 from the blue tees (is that what the pros use?). They could, I guess, turn it into a par 4 but there's no room to extend the hole is the point. They have no more real estate to really grow the course.
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
36,637
306, row 14
The hole already plays at 541 from the blue tees (is that what the pros use?). They could, I guess, turn it into a par 4 but there's no room to extend the hole is the point. They have no more real estate to really grow the course.
Par is just an easy, shorthanded scoring tool. Changing par on a course doesn't impact the difficulty a coure or a hole plays, it just means the score in relation to par will be higher.

They play Pebble as a 72 for the pro-am. If they change 18 to a par 4, par drops to 71. The scoring average by strokes will stay the same, just the score in relation to par will be different. A 68 will be -3 instead of -4. It'll look harder in relation to par but at the end of the day the total strokes will be the same. Changing par has no impact on the distance or anything, it's just the perception of how hard or easy a hole is.
 

jercra

No longer respects DeChambeau
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
3,163
Arvada, Co
Par is just an easy, shorthanded scoring tool. Changing par on a course doesn't impact the difficulty a coure or a hole plays, it just means the score in relation to par will be higher.

They play Pebble as a 72 for the pro-am. If they change 18 to a par 4, par drops to 71. The scoring average by strokes will stay the same, just the score in relation to par will be different. A 68 will be -3 instead of -4. It'll look harder in relation to par but at the end of the day the total strokes will be the same. Changing par has no impact on the distance or anything, it's just the perception of how hard or easy a hole is.
Ok, so what's the right score to finish Pebble? Tiger destroyed the field 23 years ago with -12 in a US Open setup (par 71). What should he have shot? Was the ball too hot then?

What do people want to see? Is it long rewarding iron players? Better short games because more people miss greens? I mean it honestly. This group seems pretty pro shorter-ball for the pros. What are you hoping will change?
 

Zomp

Moderator
Moderator
SoSH Member
Aug 28, 2006
13,966
The Slums of Shaolin
Cshea is saying the score relative to par doesn’t matter.
This proposal isn’t about scores getting too low. It’s about bringing a bit more strategy back into the game instead of hitting driver-wedge into a 470 yard hole.

A lot of courses are already maxed out on distance. If a course can’t keep evolving but the ball and equipment does, those courses will eventually become obsolete.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,292
Cshea is saying the score relative to par doesn’t matter.
This proposal isn’t about scores getting too low. It’s about bringing a bit more strategy back into the game instead of hitting driver-wedge into a 470 yard hole.

A lot of courses are already maxed out on distance. If a course can’t keep evolving but the ball and equipment does, those courses will eventually become obsolete.
THAT is my point ^^^. These courses run out of real estate. You can't turn every par 5 into a par 4, and half the par 4s into par 3s. I mean, you COULD, but then you'd have the US Open being played to a par of 60. If we care at ALL about things like history and tradition (and maybe we don't, I don't know), it's just not really great to have this situation. But Pebble (as just one example) literally has nowhere else to go to accommodate ever-increasing power.
 

Lose Remerswaal

Experiencing Furry Panic
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Cshea is saying the score relative to par doesn’t matter.
This proposal isn’t about scores getting too low. It’s about bringing a bit more strategy back into the game instead of hitting driver-wedge into a 470 yard hole.

A lot of courses are already maxed out on distance. If a course can’t keep evolving but the ball and equipment does, those courses will eventually become obsolete.
Exactly. You can deaden the ball or the clubs, or you can add clown mouth trees or other hazards to change the look of the course, but that will screw it up for members and other players the other 51 weeks of the year.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
13,149
The Paris of the 80s
Ok, so what's the right score to finish Pebble? Tiger destroyed the field 23 years ago with -12 in a US Open setup (par 71). What should he have shot? Was the ball too hot then?

What do people want to see? Is it long rewarding iron players? Better short games because more people miss greens? I mean it honestly. This group seems pretty pro shorter-ball for the pros. What are you hoping will change?
If there was a problem with the professional product the PGA Tour wouldn't be raking in money. And if there was a problem with the professional product the professionals should be deciding how to address it.

We're about 20-25 years into the modern era of golf and I barely remember how things were before. I was a kid when Tiger popped up and modern equipment took over. So a professional game where they're hitting more 20-30 degree clubs vs 40-50 degree clubs into greens doesn't register as meaningful. Frankly, it just seems antiquated, because long irons, hybrids, and fairway woods are for attacking par 5's.

The interview portion of this week's No Laying Up podcast with USGA CEO Mike Whan is worth a listen. I'm not 100% convinced they won't alter course but the USGA does seem to actually understand amateurs really, really, really want no part of a rolled back ball or equipment making the game harder for them.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,292
The interview portion of this week's No Laying Up podcast with USGA CEO Mike Whan is worth a listen. I'm not 100% convinced they won't alter course but the USGA does seem to actually understand amateurs really, really, really want no part of a rolled back ball or equipment making the game harder for them.
Why would a ball that's rolled back for PGA pros have ANY effect whatsoever on us amateurs, who would be allowed to use whatever juiced up ball we want? It's always been proposed that the PGA Tour be like MLB - equipment is limiting for THEM, but not for everyone else. High school kids can use all kinds of crazy bat technology, but Mookie Betts can't. Limiting the pros tech has literally nothing to do with what amateurs use. There's no reason why we amateurs can't use crazy flight balls. It's just that Jordan Speith and Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood can't.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
SoSH Member
Feb 22, 2004
13,149
The Paris of the 80s
Why would a ball that's rolled back for PGA pros have ANY effect whatsoever on us amateurs, who would be allowed to use whatever juiced up ball we want? It's always been proposed that the PGA Tour be like MLB - equipment is limiting for THEM, but not for everyone else. High school kids can use all kinds of crazy bat technology, but Mookie Betts can't. Limiting the pros tech has literally nothing to do with what amateurs use. There's no reason why we amateurs can't use crazy flight balls. It's just that Jordan Speith and Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood can't.
That's not really true. Sure, some people have talked about bifurcation in the past but the governing bodies haven't supported it until now. Golf loves its history and the same rules and equipment for all is a dearly held aspect of the game for some people (who have power). That seems to be why the governing bodies are framing this as a Modified Local Rule rather than talking about bifurcation. It's bifurcation without the word's baggage!
 

cshea

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 15, 2006
36,637
306, row 14
Ok, so what's the right score to finish Pebble? Tiger destroyed the field 23 years ago with -12 in a US Open setup (par 71). What should he have shot? Was the ball too hot then?

What do people want to see? Is it long rewarding iron players? Better short games because more people miss greens? I mean it honestly. This group seems pretty pro shorter-ball for the pros. What are you hoping will change?
I don’t really care about what the right score is. My point was that changing the par only changes the scores relative to par. It doesn’t make a hole or course harder. And the point of the ball roll back isn’t to make it harder so it’s basically a red herring.

I don’t think this will have a tremendous impact on the viewing experience of the pro game. Rory drives will be just as impressive relative to the rest of the field whether it goes 350 or 310. If anything, this will mean less bomb and gauge which can only. Be a good thing. There will be a much wider variety of shots being hit, which is far more interesting to me than watching them drive it 350 then wedge it to 10 feet on repeat.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,292
Jordan is amazing to watch. He is kind of like Phil in his prime. Crazy talent, but you just never know when something bonkers is going to happen with him.