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USGA PR team to Justin Thomas: "We need to talk"


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Nobody is talking change one every time someone doesn't like a ruling. We're talking change based on the new rules. The change should come fast if an issue arises. Not later . They can't stabilize until they are correct. The caddie alignment rule wasn't correct as it rolled out. You can't continue to call penalties for where a caddie stands minutes before a shot takes place. So they amended it to include a backoff reset. So the onus is back on the player. Waiting a year to do that would have been criminal as far as the pro tours go. We're talking millions in lost revenue for players who would no doubt receive these penalties that mean nothing. Caddies stance well before a player setups to hit is meaningless to the game and the field.

And now we do agree, I think the caddie alignment rule needed to be tweaked, and it was. The Ruling Bodies were watching, as is appropriate, and responded both to what they observed as well as to the players' stated concerns.

 

I don't think the other major issue for the players, the "silly" drop rule, needs to be tweaked. From my experience, and from watching on TV, it appears to be successful in fulfilling its stated goal. If the only objection is the "silly" appearance, and that's the only thing I've heard, that's not a valid reason to reverse course. The players said that from the start, and haven't added any additional reasoning for changing it. I haven't heard a single player indicate that he understands the goal of the changed drop rules. Its one thing to want to be listened to, its another to insist that the "opposing side" agree with your complaints.

 

I agree, the USGA fixed the caddie alignment because it needed to be. I don't see the issue with the drop rule, to someone that's never watched golf before standing with an outstretched arm or dropping from the knee looks equally silly.

 

After a full season, the USGA can review the number of ball placements from the knee compared to previous years and determine if the desired results were achieved.

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What other major US sport has these rule issues? No wonder it is intimidating to begin to play golf. Any other sport is pretty obvious, don't foul, ball in goal, don't touch other player. MLB may be the hardest with the infield fly and that is pretty dang simple. 2 club length, 1 club length, drop behind hazard, judgement calls, drop from your chode. Golf rules require an ever changing book that not even the agency that creates the rules can interpret them consistently.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don't know )

But I don't think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

Yeah, I didn't support the pin rule either. So far, it doesn't seem like a deal to the Tour players, at least as far as being really objectionable. My best guess, after reading the studies available, is that its effect will be pretty small, and somewhat random. But I think you're right, the perception that someone got helped whether true or not) could make people clamor for reversal. Either that, or it'll make players rethink their decisions not to leave it in. Or both.

I was interested to see that Molinari made his putt on the 18th with the flagstick in. I haven't heard much commentary, did it raise any eyebrows?

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I noticed it. But didn’t really hear it mentioned. Probably because it was a longer putt. And went in slowly.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?


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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?

The only definition is knee high, falling straight down, without striking your or your equipment before it strikes the ground. A ball dropped the "right way" has to land in and come to rest in the relief area. Even Rickie's drop from his backside would have been legal, from the proper height.

With extremely soft conditions yesterday, I had lots of plugged balls in the rough so I had lots of drops. I chose to bend forward usually, to the side occasionally, but didn't try the between-the-legs style. Maybe when I'm in mid-season form.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?

The only definition is knee high, falling straight down, without striking your or your equipment before it strikes the ground. A ball dropped the "right way" has to land in and come to rest in the relief area. Even Rickie's drop from his backside would have been legal, from the proper height.

With extremely soft conditions yesterday, I had lots of plugged balls in the rough so I had lots of drops. I chose to bend forward usually, to the side occasionally, but didn't try the between-the-legs style. Maybe when I'm in mid-season form.

 

That behind the back,,between the legs looks like an injury waiting to happen for me.


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As for the popularity of a potential split and its influence on the everyday game, I'll ask this: If the PGA Tour allowed anchoring tomorrow, do you think there might be more belly putters on the rack at the superstores, or would there still be zero?

 

1) AFAIK, this ("lying" about a player) was one time thing; a poor reaction to being chided. It was admitted to and apologized for and not likely to occur again. Let's not make it sound like this is an everyday occurrence.

 

2) You have a very small percentage of players complaining. Haven't heard a peep from Li. And while there are a few pros other than Rickie and Justin mentioning not liking the new Rules (or some such), they're not whining about them. They're saying things like "We'll get used to them". Maybe THEY actually read about the major changes coming ?

 

3) You need to get out more. Bettinardi and Odyssey have long putters on the rack right now.

 

3. Long putters on the rack? Funny, because as I type this I just left my beloved PGA Superstore and there was one long putter on the rack and that was a used putter.

 

Stopped by the PGATSS on the way home today. FWIW, one of the guys told me they sold "quite a few" broomsticks. Bellies, not so much.

 

And no, I don't know how many "quite a few" are but when I first noticed them in the store, about 2(?) weeks ago, I seem to recall about 6-8 or so of each type (Odysseys - Bettis, not sure).

 

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday the PGA TOUR will not split from the game’s governing bodies to operate under its own set of rules.

 

The Rules of Golf have been a hot topic of conversation, with some players questioning a few of the newly simplified rules that went into effect at the start of 2019 and wondering if the TOUR should make its own rules for the game’s best players to follow, leaving the USGA and the R&A to make and implement rules for others. Monahan was adamant that would not happen. “We have two fantastic professional governing bodies of the game,” he said during his annual press conference prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship. “We have always played by their rules and we will continue to play by their rules – and we are not going to be playing by our own rules. “We think that the game is best served with everybody playing by the same rules and the same standards. We think it’s a source of inspiration for the game.

 

”Monahan said he wasn’t surprised by the rules discussions that have taken place among players and others in the golf community. What was unanticipated, he said, was the lack of communication and transparency between players along with primary organizations.

 

On Wednesday morning, Monahan met with officials from the R&A, the USGA, the LPGA, the European Tour, the PGA of America and Augusta National for two hours in hopes of addressing these issues.

“We're doing what we should be doing as leaders of this industry, which is talking about, one, where we are in the current state of rules. And again, everybody agrees we’re where we thought where we would be,” Monahan said.

 

“But more importantly,” he added, “I think what's happened here the last few weeks has just exposed a weakness in our working relationship, which happens when you got a lot of different organizations. So, we're going to tighten that up, and we're going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time with these new rules, and I think we're in a really good place right now.” Some players have pushed back against Rule 10.2b(4), in which caddies are forbidden from lining up their players from behind. Intent is tricky to pin down, as many caddies stand on the line of their player’s shot not to line up the boss but instead to better understand the demands of the shot at hand.

 

Denny McCarthy was assessed a two-stroke penalty for an alleged violation in the second round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and both he and his caddie denied any wrongdoing. After a great deal of debate on Twitter and elsewhere, the penalty was rescinded the next day. “In no way, shape or form did I think what I did yesterday was a penalty,” McCarthy said.

The new drop protocol, Rule 14.3b, which dictates that players take penalty drops from knee height as opposed to shoulder height, also has come under fire, especially after Rickie Fowler was penalized for forgetting and dropping the old way at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.

 

Players have come to one another’s defense, and in some cases publicly called out the new Rules and the governing bodies. Monahan, though, reminded that the changes have been part of a six-year collaboration between the TOUR and the governing bodies. “We were fully supportive of the new Rules because we were a participant in creating them,” he said. “We had equal share, just alongside the other organizations.” Rolling out 50 changes at once, he added, meant there were bound to be some things that worked well and others that created debate. The USGA already has revised and clarified Rule 10.2b(4), which also tripped up Haotong Li at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, a European Tour event, in January. Li, who also denied wrongdoing, dropped from a T3 to a T12 finish. “Lost in some of the discussion is all the things that are working really well,” Monahan said, “and the list is long, and I think it's right that we're two and a half months in and there's some rules, some existing rules, that are causing debate and discussion. Again, exactly where we thought we would be.”

...

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He should've said professional athletes should have no problems figuring out how to drop an object from knee height and it is an embarrassment that some have difficulty.

I think there's a line between getting the players calmed down, which is positive, and calling them fools. He accomplished the first part pretty well without doing the second.

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He should've said professional athletes should have no problems figuring out how to drop an object from knee height and it is an embarrassment that some have difficulty.

I think there's a line between getting the players calmed down, which is positive, and calling them fools. He accomplished the first part pretty well without doing the second.

 

Agreed. He also did a great job throwing the players a bone with:

 

"

But more importantly,” he added, “I think what's happened here the last few weeks has just exposed a weakness in our working relationship, which happens when you got a lot of different organizations. So, we're going to tighten that up, and we're going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time . . ."

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He should've said professional athletes should have no problems figuring out how to drop an object from knee height and it is an embarrassment that some have difficulty.

I think there's a line between getting the players calmed down, which is positive, and calling them fools. He accomplished the first part pretty well without doing the second.

 

Agreed. He also did a great job throwing the players a bone with:

 

"

But more importantly,” he added, “I think what's happened here the last few weeks has just exposed a weakness in our working relationship, which happens when you got a lot of different organizations. So, we're going to tighten that up, and we're going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time . . ."

 

Not only throwing them a bone, but identifying for them what the appropriate channels of communication should be moving forward. Twitter is OK for blunt complaints, but all of the issues are too complex to be solved with 280 character posts.

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Monahan is doing what he should be doing... calming the situation down. Realistically, you've got 2 rules out of a bunch that the players don't like. So, hash it out behind closed doors and come to a resolution, even if it's to keep the status quo. Airing things out on Twitter was never the right way to go... for the USGA or the players.... it's just not a professional look. The only problem I have with Monahan is that he's a little late to the table with this. He should have spoken to the players a month ago when they started getting frisky with their comments and told them then that the Tour will handle their complaints for them. The USGA's statement concerning JT was just bizarre and should never have been made on a social media platform. Hopefully they learned a lesson.

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Monahan is doing what he should be doing... calming the situation down. Realistically, you've got 2 rules out of a bunch that the players don't like. So, hash it out behind closed doors and come to a resolution, even if it's to keep the status quo. Airing things out on Twitter was never the right way to go... for the USGA or the players.... it's just not a professional look. The only problem I have with Monahan is that he's a little late to the table with this. He should have spoken to the players a month ago when they started getting frisky with their comments and told them then that the Tour will handle their complaints for them. The USGA's statement concerning JT was just bizarre and should never have been made on a social media platform. Hopefully they learned a lesson.

 

Wonderful post IMO. Mistakes made on both sides. Time to work together through any issues and move on for the betterment of the game.

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Monahan is doing what he should be doing... calming the situation down. Realistically, you've got 2 rules out of a bunch that the players don't like. So, hash it out behind closed doors and come to a resolution, even if it's to keep the status quo. Airing things out on Twitter was never the right way to go... for the USGA or the players.... it's just not a professional look. The only problem I have with Monahan is that he's a little late to the table with this. He should have spoken to the players a month ago when they started getting frisky with their comments and told them then that the Tour will handle their complaints for them. The USGA's statement concerning JT was just bizarre and should never have been made on a social media platform. Hopefully they learned a lesson.

I think guys like Thomas know that they’ve got a direct line and an indirect line (through the Tour) to the USGA to address their concerns. The grandstanding on social media is meant to make their issue with the rules public because they want to turn public opinion against the USGA to further pressure change. In other words, they don’t want a behind the scenes discussion because it’s obvious they can have that whenever they want.

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He should've said professional athletes should have no problems figuring out how to drop an object from knee height and it is an embarrassment that some have difficulty.

I think there's a line between getting the players calmed down, which is positive, and calling them fools. He accomplished the first part pretty well without doing the second.

 

Agreed. He also did a great job throwing the players a bone with:

 

"

But more importantly,” he added, “I think what's happened here the last few weeks has just exposed a weakness in our working relationship, which happens when you got a lot of different organizations. So, we're going to tighten that up, and we're going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time . . ."

 

Not only throwing them a bone, but identifying for them what the appropriate channels of communication should be moving forward. Twitter is OK for blunt complaints, but all of the issues are too complex to be solved with 280 character posts.

 

Totally agree. I think he sent a clear message to those who run the @USGA_PR twitter account.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?

 

The new drop procedure is extremely simple and easy to do. Period.

 

Anyone who makes it look awkward at all is deliberately doing so. Rickie made a complete a** out of himself and DeChambeau looked like a total fool.

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?

 

The new drop procedure is extremely simple and easy to do. Period.

 

Anyone who makes it look awkward at all is deliberately doing so. Rickie made a complete a** out of himself and DeChambeau looked like a total fool.

 

It was also unnecessary and a complete waste of time. Plenty of others areas that they could have spent more time "fixing".

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Agree Dave.

I feel silly with the knee height drop. Likely due to my height and bending down that far ?( I don’t know )

But I don’t think it really needs any change. If I could rewind time and make it not happen I would. Lol. But yea. No real need to change it now.

Now the pin in rule we shall see. I can live with it so far. But if we see someone gain an advantage at Augusta with it , id vote to reverse that one quick. So reserve a right to gripe later. Lol.

 

I haven’t dropped yet with the new procedure, but I’m thinking I’ll just bend forward to do so. Seems (at least in my head) like it would be pretty simple. There’s nothing saying it has to be to the side is there?

 

The new drop procedure is extremely simple and easy to do. Period.

 

Anyone who makes it look awkward at all is deliberately doing so. Rickie made a complete a** out of himself and DeChambeau looked like a total fool.

 

It was also unnecessary and a complete waste of time. Plenty of others areas that they could have spent more time "fixing".

 

More irony - a "waste of time".

 

#1 complaint about golf other than cost, and it's NOT EVEN CLOSE, is the time to play a round, alternately known as "slow play".

 

A number of rules were (re-)designed to address that very issue. THIS was one of them.

 

So what "other areas" do you believe were more important for them to spend their time on again ??? :blink: :)

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

The drop height was part of number of changes designed at least in part to limit the distance that relief could be from the ball's initial location. The changes also made relief procedures more consistent across all situations. Eliminating multiple drops and eventual placement of the ball was another goal, which comes with some small time savings. Yes, saving time was a factor in a number of the rules changes, but its wrong to evaluate the new drop procedures based on time-saving alone.

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

The drop height was part of number of changes designed at least in part to limit the distance that relief could be from the ball's initial location. The changes also made relief procedures more consistent across all situations. Eliminating multiple drops and eventual placement of the ball was another goal, which comes with some small time savings. Yes, saving time was a factor in a number of the rules changes, but its wrong to evaluate the new drop procedures based on time-saving alone.

 

Agreed. Like I said, I kind of like it, but it doesn't save time.

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

The drop height was part of number of changes designed at least in part to limit the distance that relief could be from the ball's initial location. The changes also made relief procedures more consistent across all situations. Eliminating multiple drops and eventual placement of the ball was another goal, which comes with some small time savings. Yes, saving time was a factor in a number of the rules changes, but its wrong to evaluate the new drop procedures based on time-saving alone.

 

Agreed. Like I said, I kind of like it, but it doesn't save time.

 

Sure it does. Even if the player intentionally drops it near the edge of the RA it will likely bounce out of the RA less often (where a shoulder high drop almost always would).

 

And on a severe slope the player won't have to waste time running after his ball, TWICE, before placing it as it won't be nearly as far away.

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

The drop height was part of number of changes designed at least in part to limit the distance that relief could be from the ball's initial location. The changes also made relief procedures more consistent across all situations. Eliminating multiple drops and eventual placement of the ball was another goal, which comes with some small time savings. Yes, saving time was a factor in a number of the rules changes, but its wrong to evaluate the new drop procedures based on time-saving alone.

 

Agreed. Like I said, I kind of like it, but it doesn't save time.

 

Sure it does. Even if the player intentionally drops it near the edge of the RA it will likely bounce out of the RA less often (where a shoulder high drop almost always would).

 

And on a severe slope the player won't have to waste time running after his ball, TWICE, before placing it as it won't be nearly as far away.

It isn't that significant a difference in impact velocity (30% - 40% or so). It will help a little, but drops on significant slopes are still going to require the 2-drop and place drill. Drops on moderate slopes with softer turf will be where the benefit is greatest. It will very slightly help pace of play and the bad optics will occur less often on TV. Whether that benefit was worth the ongoing angst would be an assessment only the RBs can make.

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I wish those Hondamen would've spent more time trying to make that turd NSX get around a track faster than a Subaru, but this is about golf.

 

I honestly don't think the drop height speeds up every day play. At all. I have no problem with the change. I kind of like it. But, I don't think it was necessary to speed up every day players.

The drop height was part of number of changes designed at least in part to limit the distance that relief could be from the ball's initial location. The changes also made relief procedures more consistent across all situations. Eliminating multiple drops and eventual placement of the ball was another goal, which comes with some small time savings. Yes, saving time was a factor in a number of the rules changes, but its wrong to evaluate the new drop procedures based on time-saving alone.

 

Agreed. Like I said, I kind of like it, but it doesn't save time.

 

Sure it does. Even if the player intentionally drops it near the edge of the RA it will likely bounce out of the RA less often (where a shoulder high drop almost always would).

 

And on a severe slope the player won't have to waste time running after his ball, TWICE, before placing it as it won't be nearly as far away.

It isn't that significant a difference in impact velocity (30% - 40% or so). It will help a little, but drops on significant slopes are still going to require the 2-drop and place drill. Drops on moderate slopes with softer turf will be where the benefit is greatest. It will very slightly help pace of play and the bad optics will occur less often on TV. Whether that benefit was worth the ongoing angst would be an assessment only the RBs can make.

 

Agreed. It is not a huge timesaver but then neither is the flagstick. But if one saves a little bit of time in a lot of different places,,,,,,,,,,,,

 

Point is, there are slopes from very slight to very severe. If the knee drop saves even a little time, so be it. 1 thing I can say with some confidence is dropping from knee height won't take more time. :)

 

And since both pace of play and the overall time it takes to play a round of golf are such oft related gripes I'm OK with having to remember a slight change in the drop height,,,,,,,,,,, ;)

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