PGA Tour boss risks wrath of Rory McIlroy with golf rule bombshell

PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan returned to work with a bang with an announcement that will catch the attention of Rory McIlroy. 

Ben Smith's picture
Thu, 27 Jul 2023
PGA Tour boss risks wrath of Rory McIlroy with golf rule bombshell

Rory McIlroy will almost certainly have raised his eyebrows as PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan returned with a bang. 

A leaked memo addressed to members before the 3M Open confirmed there will be a compensation fund set up for those who rejected the advances of LIV Golf and a 'punishment taskforce' for defectors who may wish to return. 

At the bottom of the letter - according to Golf Channel who first broke the news - was also the nugget that the tour has absolutely no plans to support proposals to roll back the golf ball. 


The two governing bodies that oversee golf's rules, the R&A and USGA, outlined their bifurcation plans in March. 

Manufacturers and golf stakeholders have until next August to provide feedback on the Modal Local Rule to combat the game's biggest hitters. 

For the most part, the proposals have been met with negativity. Unsurprisingly, OEMs such as Titleist and TaylorMade weren't happy. 

In what was a surprise, Rory McIlroy was one of the elite players who was not opposed to the idea. McIlroy previously hinted that a conversation with an LTA exec persuaded him the move wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. 

In the memo dated 26 July under the heading 'Distance debate', Monahan wrote:

"As you know, we have spent the last two years undertaking a comprehensive analysis of distance on the PGA Tour and its impact. 
"Although there has been some level of support for limiting future increases, there is widespread and significant belief the proposed Modified Local Rule is not warranted and is not in the best interest of the game. 
"Following a discussion on the topic at a recent PAC meeting, we have notified the USGA and The R&A that while the PGA Tour is committed to collaborating with them - and all industry partners - to arrive at a solution that will best serve our players, our fans and the game at all levels, we are not able to support the MLR as proposed. 
"As a formal feedback period to the USGA and The R&A comes to an end and this process evolves, I will be in touch with updates." 

See here:

What some of the players have said about the MLR:

Bryson DeChambeau:

"But I think it's the most atrocious thing that you could possibly do to the game of golf. It's not about rolling golf balls back; it's about making golf courses more difficult."

Justin Thomas:

"I think the USGA over the years has -- in my eyes, it's harsh, but made some pretty selfish decisions.
"They definitely, in my mind, have done a lot of things that aren't for the betterment of the game, although they claim it. I had conversations with some USGA members and it just -- to me, I don't understand how it's growing the game."

Patrick Cantlay:

"I think bifurcation's really bad for the game. I think one of the best things about our game is that all the people that play at my home club can play the exact same equipment that I do and that's different than pretty much any other sport."

Rory McIlroy

"I think this is only gonna help the better player. You know, it might help the longer player too, in some ways. But I think it's going to help the overall professional game. I think making guys hit some long irons again, and some mid irons, and being able to hit every club in your bag in a round of golf. … I can't remember the last time when I've had to do that. I don't know if this change in the ball will make us do that, but it certainly is a step closer to that."

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