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Rules bifurcation? Commissioner Monahan says not happening

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – At the height of the debate over golf’s new rules this year, some suggested it might be time for the game to consider two sets of rules, one for the amateurs and another for those who play professionally.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan seemed to have finally put an end to that speculation on Wednesday.

“We have two fantastic professional governing bodies of the game. We have always played by their rules and we will continue to play by their rules. And we are not going to be playing by our own rules,” Monahan said.

Some Tour pros have been outspoken on this subject following a series of high-profile rules gaffes involving a new rule on caddie-alignment and the switch to knee-high drops in 2019.

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The debate reached a boiling point during the Honda Classic when Justin Thomas criticized the USGA and R&A for a new rule regarding a damaged club. Things escalated when the USGA tagged Thomas in a tweet claiming he’d cancelled “every meeting” they had scheduled with him and pointed out the Tour has had a seat at the rule making table for seven years.

The USGA later corrected that tweet, “[Thomas] did not avoid a discussion with the USGA nor cancel any meetings,” but the damage was done and feelings were hurt. At TPC Sawgrass, however, Monahan stressed that bifurcation is not an option.

“We think that the game is best served with everybody playing by the same rules and the same standards. We think it's a source of inspiration for the game,” he said. “This spot that we're in, that we haven't been in before, has caused a lot of conversation, and I think it's fair that these kind of subjects are brought up.”