PGA Tour chief tells star names to be 'constructive' over new rules


Rickie Fowler performed a ‘toilet drop’ last week after previously criticising the rule changes

The world’s top golfers have been told to “use your voice constructively” as players and governing bodies continue to clash over new rules.

American trio Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler have been particularly critical of the changes.

The rules, aimed at speeding up play, include dropping the ball from knee height and caddies not lining up shots.

PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan stressed the ongoing conversation around rule changes is a “collaborative process”.

There has been support for the changes from several big-name players, including Europe’s winning 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and his successor Padraig Harrington.

The R&A and United States Golf Association (USGA) – golf’s two governing bodies – introduced the changes following consultation at the start of this year.

World number four Thomas described the amendments as “terrible” and claimed the USGA was not communicating with players.

The organisation initially replied to the player on Twitter, saying the two parties “needed to talk” and that he had cancelled five previous meetings.

But the USGA posted an amendment to that claim on Tuesday, insisting Thomas had not avoided discussions or cancelled meetings.

The USGA backtracked on their initial claims about Thomas in a tweet on Tuesday

World number seven Fowler was penalised for dropping from shoulder height after shanking out of bounds in Mexico, then performing a ‘toilet drop’ – squatting and dropping from under his bottom – in the next event in Palm Beach.

Koepka, the current holder of the US Open and US PGA Championship titles, believes rules should be made by professional tours and not officials at the USGA and R&A.

But Monahan, who took over as PGA Commissioner in 2017, said there have already been “positive outcomes” and said it was “important to acknowledge we are not at the finish line yet”.

“This is a collaborative process, one the PGA Tour has been part of from the beginning, along with all organisations in the world of golf,” Monahan added.

“During this process, we 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.

“We also had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules prior to implementation, which resulted in modifications for the final version.”

Former Europe Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn had his say on Twitter

Not all of the game’s leading players have been critical, however.

Denmark’s Bjorn, who led Europe to victory in last year’s Ryder Cup, believes the governing bodies did listen to views from players, while Ireland’s Harrington says they had “extensive input” in the process.

World number two Justin Rose says slow play needs to be “aggressively stamped out”, while fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick added it was “ridiculous” the governing bodies were “getting so much abuse”.

Three-time major winner Harrington defended the USGA and R&A on Twitter

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