The ongoing rift between PGA Tour pros and the game’s governing bodies took a new turn on Monday with a memo sent to Tour players from commissioner Jay Monahan.
Memo from Tour commissioner to players on Monday re: this year’s rule changes. “This is a collaborative process, one the PGA Tour has been a part of from the beginning, along with all organizations in the world,” the memo reads. pic.twitter.com/pTa17UuQCC— Rex Hoggard (@RexHoggardGC) March 5, 2019
Following weeks of growing discord between Tour pros and the USGA and R&A, the memo points out that the rules makeover that has sparked so much debate this year has been a “collaborative process” that the Tour has “been a part of from the beginning.”
“[The Tour] put forward a lengthy list of recommendations to improve the rules in many ways, including the removal of numerous penalties, and virtually all our suggestions were incorporated,” the memo from Monahan read. “We also had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules prior to implementation, which resulted in modifications for the final version.”
The rift between Tour players and the USGA appeared to reach a tipping point last week at the Honda Classic, when Justin Thomas criticized the USGA and R&A for the new rule this year regarding caddie alignment. Thomas' comments came after Adam Schenk became the third player to be penalized for the violation as he played out of a bunker at PGA National.
The USGA responded to Thomas with a tweet from its PR account, saying that Thomas had “cancelled every meeting we’ve planned.” In the same tweet, the USGA reached out to Thomas that they “needed to talk.”
Despite pushback from players this season over the new rule changes, which cover many aspects of the game from caddie alignment to new procedures for taking drops from knee-height, Monahan points out in the memo that players will continue to have a voice in the rule-making process.
“You will continue to have an avenue to voice your questions and concerns, either through our team, the player advisory council or directly to USGA representatives as they continue to be on-site during our events to gather feedback,” he said in the memo.