Tiger Woods has reinforced his support for the Rules of Golf to finally introduce new measures to curb the ever-increasing distance the humble ‘professional’ golf ball now travels.
Golf’s joint ruling bodies – the R&A and USGA – have been fighting for years with the issue, so much so that from 2028 there will be the introduction of a Model Local Rule (MLR).
The MLR rule is for elite competitions only. It would require the use of golf balls tested under modified launch conditions, reflective of the longest hitters in the professional game.
Parties such as the PGA Tour and PGA of America released statements against the proposed MLR, leading to the possibility of players having to use one type of golf ball in The Open and U.S. Open and another in the PGA Championship and PGA Tour competition.
Augusta National also hinted at support for the rollback ahead of the 2023 Masters.
Woods responded to the ruling body’s statement in speaking to reporters at the Hero World Challenge.
“I’ve always been for bifurcation, and I’ve always said that. Just like wood (baseball) bats and metal bats”, said Woods.
“This discussion has been, I guess, the talk ever since I’ve been out on tour. And then to finally see it come to this point where I think both governing bodies who control the rules around the world are going to come to a collaborative understanding of how far you can hit the ball, as we just don’t have enough property anymore.
“So, I think that understanding that yeah, we’ve been hammering the ball needs to slow down, but it has kept speeding up my entire career and here we are.
“I’m curious to see what the feedback is. I know the PGA Tour had their stance on it, but the ruling bodies are the ruling bodies.”
Woods and Rory McIlroy are among just a small number who’ve publicly supported the R&A and USGA decision while, in contrast, a large number of their PGA Tour colleagues have been vocal in backing the Tour in expressing their disdain for the move.
Slumbers said at the time the joint statement was released: “The game was not happy with the Model Local Rule.
“There was a view that it would create a bifurcated game at the elite level. It was a very strong pushback against that. The PGA Tour was very public about it. So was the PGA of America. A number of players spoke out. And our job is to listen.
“But our responsibility is to the long-term future of the game. Along with the USGA, the R&A is a custodian of the game. We’re responsible for our period of time, something that has gone on for hundreds of years and will go on for hundreds more.
“So, we are listening. And we have made a decision about what we are going to do. We’re working that through at the moment and will make it public before the end of the year.”