To review: golfers can leave flagsticks in the hole without penalty, pro golfers have convinced themselves that they will make more putts, fans can see the hole easier, and unlike some of golf’s new rules, there is nearly unanimous support for this change before a majority of golfers have even tried it.
But with the R&A’s Martin Slumbers’ comments this week, combined with the USGA’s Thomas Pagel having said something similar to the WSJ’s Brian Costa, both organizations have suggested that should there be signs the new rule is enhancing performance and de-skilling the game, they might have to revisit the change.
From Alistair Tait’s Golfweek story:
“It wasn’t intended as a rule to improve performance. It was intended as a rule to improve pace of play, and it’s something we will watch and see. But these are early days. This is not the time to make knee‑jerk reactions.”
Slumbers is right, this is not the time. But even if this one does pan out to somehow allow a few more people to make more putts, rescinding this rule might just be the undoing of the governing bodies.
After all, might most wonder why the possibility of performance enhancement was not investigated before making the rule change?
I offered this video version of the above comments for Golfweek…