PGA Tour Responds to USGA and R&A Proposed Model Local Rule

The USGA and R&A have proposed a Model Local Rule (MLR) that would divide golf between elite and recreational play, add confusion, and break the linkage that is part of the game’s enduring fabric.[0] The MLR proposes a tournament ball that would be tested under modified launch conditions and would not be capable of flying further than 320 yards when struck at a laboratory-controlled swing speed of 127mph. This would lead to a 14-15 yard reduction in driving distances for the longest hitters.[1]

The PGA Tour responded to the USGA and R&A’s proposal with a statement, saying that they will “continue our own extensive independent analysis of the topic and will collaborate with the USGA and The R&A, along with our membership and industry partners, to evaluate and provide feedback on this proposal.”[2]

The USGA CEO, Mike Whan, has said that “hitting distances at the elite level of the game have consistently increased over the past 20, 40, and 60 years” and that if the issue is not addressed soon “it will become a significant issue for the next generation.”[3]

Justin Thomas, the world’s number one golfer, expressed his disappointment with the proposal and said that he doesn’t understand how it’s growing the game. Thomas compared the proposed rule to changing the length of a mile or the height of a basketball hoop, saying: “We’re athletes now. We’re training to hit the ball further and faster and if you can do it, good for you.[4] So yeah, as you can tell, I’m clearly against it.[5]

0. “Dusek: My takeaways from the USGA and R&A's golf ball rollback press conference” Golfweek, 14 Mar. 2023,

1. “R&A and USGA propose rule to bring in option of distance-reducing ball” The Guardian, 14 Mar. 2023,

2. “USGA, R&A propose shorter-flying ball at ‘elite male level’” Global Golf Post, 14 Mar. 2023,

3. “Golf's rule makers confirm plans to roll back the distances travelled by balls” Daily Mail, 14 Mar. 2023,

4. “Justin Thomas fired up about driving distances ahead of Valspar Championship” Tampa Bay Times, 15 Mar. 2023,

5. “‘It’s so bad for the game’: Justin Thomas doesn’t hold back when it comes to new golf ball rollback proposal that would limit distance” Yahoo Sports, 15 Mar. 2023,