How Dustin Johnson and Other PGA Tour Players Reacted to the USGA and R&A’s New Rule

Published 10/13/2021, 6:29 PM EDT
Aug 28, 2021; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Dustin Johnson looks on from the first green during the third round of the BMW Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports


On Tuesday, USGA and R&A released an announcement about a new model local rule. Now, as per the new changes, club length except putters will be limited to 46 inches. This means tournament organizers can make that call – something many PGA Tour stars like Phil Mickelson and Justin Thomas have spoken about.

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While many fans spoke against the decision on social media, Phil Mickelson was one of the first icons to react. He has previously spoken about short drivers, explaining how it can end up hurting older players. All in all, golfers might be more prone to injuries if they use shorter drivers.

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Let’s take a look at what Mickelson and some other PGA Tour icons had to say.

Why are PGA Tour stars against this new rule?’

With multiple posts, Mickelson had made his stand very clear. “Stupid is as stupid does. Mrs. Gump,” tweeted the 51-year-old. “Really, though, are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game, the stupid ones? Or the professionals for letting them?”

Mickelson himself uses a 47.5-inch driver and would have to reduce his length while playing. While it might not seem much, it could potentially change someone’s game completely – affecting one’s swing.

Justin Thomas on the new rule

During a press conference at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas, Thomas admitted that he does not agree with the new rule. “I think it’s — 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,” he said. He added that it is a lot harder to hit it straight, and not many people o the Tour are using it.

Golf – Scottish Open – The Renaissance Club, North Berwick, Scotland, Britain – July 11, 2021 Justin Thomas of the U.S. during the final round REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Does Dustin Johnson agree with the 46-inch rule?

Johnson, having tested longer drivers himself, spoke to GOLF.com about the matter being discussed. The 37-year-old explained that he does not think length matters, because a long driver makes it difficult to hit straight. “So if you could hit a 48-inch driver and keep it on the planet, then more power to you. I’ve tested with ‘em, and yeah it goes further, but it also goes a lot more crooked. You lose a lot of control, so for me, I don’t think it’s necessary”. 

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Does Collin Morikawa think the changes will make a difference?

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While speaking to the press conference, Morikawa explained that he does not think this will change anyone’s driver specs. He believes that if someone wants to play with a 47-inch driver, they should. He even spoke of golf courses, wanting them to be designed differently. “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”. 

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Golf – The 149th Open Championship – Royal St George’s, Sandwich, Britain – July 16, 2021 Collin Morikawa of the U.S. holds up his ball to the spectators on the eighteenth hole during the second round REUTERS/Rebecca Naden

Kevin Kisner, Adam Scott, Hudson Swafford, and Stewart Cink also spoke against the new rules.

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Devika

327 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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