‘Bifurcation Would Be A Travesty' - Multiple PGA Tour Winner

Charley Hoffman is the latest player to criticise the golf ball rollback plan aimed at stemming driving distances

Charley Hoffman at the pro-am before the 2022 QBE Shootout
Charley Hoffman has added his voice to the growing criticism of the golf ball rollout plans
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Charley Hoffman has declared the governing bodies’ golf ball bifurcation plans a travesty as the fallout from the decision continues to escalate.

Following the announcement, which aims to curb driving distances by limiting the distance the ball can travel, LIV Golf player Bryson DeChambeau slammed the plans as "atrocious". That was followed by Keegan Bradley who said they were "too extreme" and Justin Thomas, who said the proposals are "so bad for the game of golf".

Now, the four-time PGA Tour winner, speaking on Sirius XM’s PGA Tour Radio, has joined the chorus of disapproval. Like Thomas, the 46-year-old singled out the USGA for particular criticism when asked if the PGA Tour could reject the proposals. He said: “If the USGA keeps doing what they are doing I think that’s inevitable… I don’t buy their logic behind any of this. Sooner or later someone’s going to have to step up to them and it could be their demise.” 

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Hoffman then suggested equipment has been subject to enough changes, without adding another to the equation. He said: “When is it too much? The groove, long putter, face of the driver, this and that, length of the driver. When are we going to say that’s enough and go, ‘Hey, we’re the best players in the world, we're going to play whatever the heck we want, the manufacturers are going to keep producing great products and we’re going to be endorsing their products?'”

Following the announcement, one of those manufacturers, Titleist, described the plans as "a problem in search of a solution” and also said “this bifurcation would divide golf between elite and recreational play”. That’s something Hoffman – like Bradley and Thomas – agrees with.

He continued: “Bifurcation will be a travesty to this game. It’s the only sport in the world were the amateurs play by the same rules as those so I don’t know what their endgame on this is.”

Despite the negative reaction to the plans, CEO of the R&A Martin Slumbers, in a press conference with USGA counterpart Mike Whan, explained the proposals where necessary to protect the long-term integrity of the game as increased driving distances raise concerns that some courses may become unviable in the future. 

The change is slated to be introduced by January 2026 at the earliest.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.