Tuesday, March 5

Eamon Lynch: Whining About New Rules Is Not Good Look for PGA Tour Players

THE USGA HAS BECOME A PUNCHING BAG through the years and for good reasons. But golf's elite players seem to get a pass on their reactions and childish behavior, most recently as it pertains to the new rules.

Why are players (seemingly) excused?

This isn't an aberration. Rather, it's the sports culture in which we live.

Eamon Lynch at Golfweek.com jumped into the topic with both feet:
It is golf’s most threadbare cliché to say that the game reflects life — the need to play it as it lies, handle bad breaks, conduct oneself honorably. This blather about character and grit has kept the sport's more indolent announcers and marketing executives employed for generations. But a more fitting allegory for this golf-as-life theme, at least in the professional ranks, may be our cry baby culture, the ceaseless bellyaching by those who break rules and then petulantly insist the rules are stupid anyway.... 
There’s clearly great fodder for debate in the new rules, from the wording to the rollout. The problem is that the time for debate was two years ago. In March 2017, the USGA announced a six-month feedback period during which anyone could offer input on the proposed revisions. More than 25,000 golfers did so. If Messrs. Scott, Thomas and Fowler had grave reservations, they had ample opportunity to register them. 
The new rules were made public in March 2018 — nine months before they took effect. USGA officials attended player meetings and held one-on-one conversations at tournaments in advance of the rollout. Despite that outreach, plenty of players are peddling a narrative that blames their own ignorance on the USGA. It's unsurprising. The blazers are the softest target in golf, portrayed as humorless scolds legislating all the fun out of the game.
I'm not saying the new rules are perfect, nor the rollout. But I do agree with Lynch's characterization of players as whiners and babies. I'm tired of it.

What if all parties, including golf's governing bodies, actually talked directly behind the scenes rather than airing their grievances and pettiness in the public arena?

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