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The USGA's Big Move & The Bifurcation Conversation

Two big features appear in this week's Golf World: Jaime Diaz's look at the state of the USGA and my story on the delicate topic of bifurcation.

Here they are from the Golf World digital edition: Diaz/USGA  Shackelford/bifurcation

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Reader Comments (8)

I am anxious to read your column/article later today. As many of you know, I have been for a ''casual'' set of rules for years. Probably different than he USGA will approach this, if they ever do.

BTW, Tommy, you rock.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

When you play in a competition you play by the rules of that competition.

When you play with your buddies then you play by consensus....gimmes, redos etc. They will determine what is allowed ...or not.

But remember that in Scotland hey call a mulligan "three off the tee"
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
Looking forward to this debate once and for all. Bi-furcation is not a dirty word. Every game/sport/pastime has it's own set of unique rule accommodations plain and simple.

Eg: In Hockey, young players under 13/14 are forbidden to body check, yet they are allowed to get progressively more physical as they mature depending on age.

Baseball has that wooden bat rule for the pros while everyone else can swing away with metals.

Swimming has swim suit specs that are strictly enforced at only the top events, not at the grassroots and local meet levels (99.99% sure about that last one, but it could have been since's been awhile since my Speedos wearing phase)

I just don't see why the USGA and PGAT needed to drag everyone into this mess in the first place. It is a simple solution of modifying the PGAT "Conditions of Competition" clause or even perhaps classifying an anchored putter as a teaching aid in the next rules revision. I know those braniacs at the USGA do keep in touch with all the teaching gizmo clubs and such...was the person in charge bonging down some 420 when the anchored putter first came across his desk many many many moons ago? In any case, a broader solution would be to limit the number of clubs in the pro game to 12 or 11...that would hold off technology for awhile.

In any case...99% of all golfers will simply continue carrying on as they were doing all along. It's just a game FFS. Is it too much to expect that the best in the sport will have to adapt to different rules from time to time...they're supposed to be good aren't they? This whole thing about the rules being sacred for perpetuity just doesn't fly in the face of historical precedent.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
cutting back the number of clubs...that would be intersting. I think at one time Tom Watson only carried 13...maybe still does. Seems like half these guys carry a driver, a putter, and 12 wedges. I think Seve carried a pitching wedge and a 56..something like that...he did pretty good. It would be sort of fun to see what kind of shots would be manufactured using fewer clubs.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNospin
What's funny to me is the number of guys who "bend" the rules, but need to play from the tips because they like a challenge.
01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
Stanley, the point digsouth (and I) keep making is that there needs to be a set of casual rules that are consistent for all casual golfers.
A starting point is using the Lateral Water hazard rule when a ball is lost. Few casual players walk back to the tee.
A casual set of amended RoG would mean players are still playing golf. For handicap the score might be reduced by a shot or two. Strictly speaking, if you vary the RoG you are not playing golf!
If one of the arguments against bifurcation is that amateurs want to play like the pros, then if the pros equipment and balls were geared back. maybe that would solve a lot. See where I am going?
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Stevens
Mike...just remember many amatuers are just as long or longer than the pro's, so dialing back the ball just for the pro game doesn't solve some of the issues. 99% of courses will never be played by the PGA tour, yet they continue to build them 7500+ yards...who exactly are they buliding them for?
01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

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