Phil Mickelson had been fanning the flames about a new driver rule on social media for a few months before the USGA and R&A’s joint announcement on Tuesday.
The two governing bodies announced a new Model Local Rule that, starting Jan. 1, 2022, reduces the length of non-putters from 48 inches to 46 inches. The reduction in the maximum allowable length of golf clubs has been in the works for several years now, dating back to October 2016.
Mickelson took to Twitter with his displeasure, and he didn’t hold back. Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak also had something to say on the matter from the CJ Cup in Las Vegas.
Phil Mickelson has been ripping this for a while now. So, the floor is yours, Lefty:
“Stupid is as stupid does.”Mrs Gump— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) October 12, 2021
Really though, are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game the stupid ones? Or the professionals for letting them? https://t.co/3zt4LyH3UW
“Look, it’s not going to change my driver specs, I’ll tell you that, and I don’t think it’s going to change many other guys’ driver specs.
“Is that the answer to hitting it shorter? No. You know, I think yeah, if you have a long drive and you see what Bryson did, you see what long drive guys do, they have a longer driver, right, and they’re able to hit it farther, but can you maintain that on the golf course? Hasn’t been done yet. Not saying it won’t be done, but you know like if a guy wants a 47‑inch driver, I think they should let them because why not.
“We’ve seen courses that you end up shooting 10 to 15 under and it’s not because the course is 9,000 yards long, we don’t play that. It’s because it makes you shape shots, it makes you hit different shots and it’s all about course design.
“So that’s my opinion in it or on it, is that I think course design needs to be structured in a way where we don’t need 8,000‑yard courses. Yeah, they’re great sometimes, but there’s a lot of short courses on our tour that don’t provide 25 under par and it’s because of the way the layout is and the conditions. So I don’t think many guys have over 46 inches, their driver, anyways, so I don’t think it will change much.”
Collin Morikawa plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
“I don’t really agree with it. I think it is, I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot of other things, you know, like the arm bar putter that they should be approaching as opposed to the length of driver. I think the fact that you see only a few people using a long driver speaks for itself, that it’s not really that big of an advantage. It’s a lot harder to hit it straight.
“In terms of do I think it makes the game of golf and growing the game better? No, I don’t at all, but they seem to have their kind of mind around that for a while now, so it seems to be the issue because if there’s an amateur golfer or players at home that want to hit it a little bit farther, so be it. Or if there’s guys out here that want to have a chance to put it in play with a 47‑, 48‑inch driver, then power to them. I had that opportunity; I just chose not to.
“I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is.”
Justin Thomas (Photo: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
“I’ve always used a 45‑inch driver, really not too much longer than that, so I know it’s not really going to affect me. I’m already a long ball hitter, so I kind of go with I want the accuracy more than the distance. I mean, 46 inch, I think people want to see the golf ball go far and if somebody can hit the ball straight and use a 46‑, 47‑inch driver, I’m all for it. Nonetheless, they still made the decision to go to 46 inches. But again, it doesn’t affect me so I don’t have to worry about it.”
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