Rumor has long been the good professionals of the PGA Tour don’t exactly have a lot of love for the USGA. But is this true?
Golf’s governing body, which is almost universally composed of amateur golfers, knows little about the high-level pro game…and it shows. Such would seem to be the sentiment inside the ropes on Tour.
Well, this edition of the Undercover Tour Pro connects the dots. As the pro (who, unlike Secret Tour Pro, is actually a pro golfer) tells Golf Digest’s Max Adler there’s plenty of venom. Further, there’s a close-mindedness toward the folks in Far Hills; a feeling that everything they say and do is b.s.
“Among us, there exists a strong bias against the USGA. When Far Hills made the announcement, the vibe on the range was a caustic, “What the heck do those guys know about golf?” It’s unfair, but that’s the perception pros have.”
It’s confounding that the USGA doesn’t bring some actual professional golfers on board in high-level positions given the prevalence of this opinion. The fact that they chose not to involve these people doesn’t exactly counter the opinion that they’re self-obsessed idealogues.
The pro didn’t have anything nice to say about the U.S. Open, either.
“We interact with the USGA once a year at the U.S. Open, which from our view is usually a debacle. Five or six things that feel ridiculously unfair are guaranteed to happen to you that week, like losing a ball in the rough one yard off the fairway, or seeing your stopped ball suddenly roll 30 feet off a green. Unless you’re the guy holding the trophy at the end, you leave bitter. Even though the R&A is equally involved in the changes, American players don’t have the same antipathy toward that organization.”
Regarding the specific sources of that antipathy, the fundamental rage seems to boil down to this: the USGA penalizes players for meaningless minutiae, not for doing things that actually advantage them unfairly.
Whenever someone is penalized for a technicality, be it Dustin Johnson possibly (theoretically?) bumping his ball on the green at Oakmont, or Carl Pettersson ticking a leaf in his backswing at Kiawah, the reaction in the locker room is always unanimous: “What bull—-.”
Indeed. So there you have it. Assuming this gentleman’s remarks are representative—and opinion on the Tour is generally uniform—the pros hate the USGA. The interesting question, assuming the USGA knows this, is does the USGA care? Not really, it would seem.