If anyone was going to have something to say about the new ‘model local rule’ that driver length shafts were going to be capped at 46 inches then it was always going to be Phil Mickelson. The left-handed is a renowned tinkerer with his equipment and he actually won the PGA this year with a 47.9 inch driver, pushing the regulations to the limit.
And, after the announcement, he tweeted: “Stupid is as stupid does. Really though, are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game the stupid ones? Or the professionals for letting them?”
Previously he had called the possibility of this happening as ‘pathetic’ before releasing a video suggesting that the governing bodies, namely the R&A and USGA, to get rid of the perimeter-weighted ball.
"It's just an idea to start addressing the real issue,” Mickelson said, “and not have all these other issues that are taking a lot of the fun away from the game and not really addressing the problem.”
The rule won’t affect the club golfers and the USGA reckon that only 3% of pros do or have used a shaft longer than 46 inches.
Needless to say there was less interest from Mickelson’s peers but Justin Thomas did have some interesting bits to say on other possible rule changes.
“I don't really agree with it,” Thomas said. “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. … 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.”
As for Lee Westwood he quipped: “What difference does a couple of inches make!?”