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The USGA and R&A shocked the golf world yesterday with a radical new proposal to create a shorter golf ball for professional golf. The announcement has inspired strong opinions on both sides of the issue, and now the most famous long-bomber in the game today, Bryson DeChambeau, has offered his own.
And based on his comments to a LIV Golf reporter on Tuesday, it’s clear he is strongly against the new proposal.
“I think it’s the most unimaginative, uninspiring, game-cutting thing you could do,” DeChambeau said ahead of this week’s LIV Golf event in Tucson, Ariz. “Everybody wants to see people hit it farther. That’s part of the reason why a lot of people like what I do. It’s part of the reason a lot of people don’t like what I do.”
The new golf ball proposal, which would come in the form of a Modern Local Rule, would allow tournaments to choose to use golf balls that fly shorter, though these golf balls don’t exist yet and would need to be created by manufacturers.
The goal is to have a new ball that reduces driving yardage by roughly 15 yards for the longest players with the highest swing speeds. DeChambeau is the poster child for that type of golfer. He famously bulked by nearly 50 lbs. for the 2019-2020 PGA Tour season, obliterating golf balls with swing speeds over 130 mph. The transformation made DeChambeau the longest driver on Tour and proved essential to his 2020 U.S. Open win.
After leaving the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in 2022, DeChambeau reportedly led that league in driving distance as well, with a 327.1 yard average. All of which is to say that the new golf ball rules likely will have a greater negative impact on DeChambeau and players like him, a point he made on Tuesday.
“It’s a great handicap for us guys that have worked really hard to learn how to hit it farther,” DeChambeau said. “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.”
We still don’t know which tournaments will adopt the Model Local Rule, though it seems certain all USGA and R&A events will use the shorter ball in the future. The other majors will likely follow suit, though it’s too soon to say whether all PGA Tour events will make use of the new rule.
Then there’s the question of DeChambeau’s new tour, and whether LIV will follow along with the rest of pro golf or stand in opposition. What we do know is what Bryson’s choice would be if he were in charge.
“If you could say I’m the complete opposite times 1,000, that’s what I would be,” DeChambeau said, adding later, “I’m all about equality. I’m not about equity on this front.”