"Never has a change of such consequence been made with such a lack of transparency or without appropriate input from those affected."
Frank Thomas pens a guest opinion piece for the Sunday New York Times and blasts his former employer over the groove rule change. He notes bifurcation without using the "B" word:
This means that for the first time, golf will have different rules for different levels of players. Golf is different in that the finest professionals and middling amateurs can compete side by side, as they do in tournaments like the AT&T National Pro-Am. For many golfers, part of the game’s appeal is knowing that they are playing the same game on the same courses as the world’s best.
Didn't that really go out the window about 10 years ago?
No matter where you come down on the grooves issue, I do think Thomas's statement about transparency is worth considering, though I'm not sure how accurate it is considering the documentation posted online.
The U.S.G.A. has not shared its evidence that a problem exists, nor has it demonstrated that this solution addresses the problem while doing the least damage to the golfing population as a whole. Never has a change of such consequence been made with such a lack of transparency or without appropriate input from those affected.
Here's the problem I have with Frank's argument:
Golf participation is declining, and we have yet to hear of people quitting the game because they found it too easy. We do not need equipment rules aimed specifically at making it harder for Tiger Woods or anyone else.
His solution in the past was to advocate reducing the number of clubs in the bag to ten and to grow more rough. And I don't think either of those ideas will bring too many new players.