Governing Bodies Trying To Make Pro Golf 'More Difficult Than It Already Is' – Rahm

The Spaniard has questioned The R&A and USGA’s golf ball rollback plans

Jon Rahm talks to the media before the 2034 WGC-Match Play
Jon Rahm thinks the golf ball rollback plans are being introduced to make the game harder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jon Rahm has claimed The R&A and USGA are trying to make the professional game more difficult with its golf ball bifurcation plans.

The game's governing bodies revealed details of the plans last week, which will see the distance the ball can travel in elite competition limited in an effort to address the concerns surrounding increased driving distances.

CEO of The R&A Martin Slumbers insists the move is necessary to protect the long-term integrity of the game. However, the plans have been met with a backlash by equipment manufacturers and players alike, and Rahm is the latest to query the motivation behind the move.

As he prepares for this week’s WGC-Match Play at Austin Country Club, the World No.2 said: “I haven't talked to anybody in the USGA to understand why they're so focused on testing all our equipment, whether it's the driver, the ball, whatever it is. They're hyper-focused on making professional golf a little bit more difficult than it already is. I don't know why.“

Rahm also questioned the timing of the announcement given the changes to the PGA Tour and increased interest in the game in recent years. He said: “My biggest question for them would be we're in a golden era of golf where it's exploded since Covid, a lot of people are watching, you have a completely different tour, all these things are happening for the game and it's growing. Why change what's working?”

The 28-year-old also suggested there are plenty of other ways to make the game more difficult without altering the equipment. We said: “There's plenty of things you can do to make it more difficult for us, golf course design, course setup, all these great things.

"Courses like last week at Innisbrook, it's not long, and the score still held up. Colonial for the most part, unless it's a very benign week with the wind, scores are always higher than the average. Hilton Head, same thing. Valderrama, same thing. You can neglect a lot of nowadays' distance with different golf course design.”

It was stressed during the press conference to announce the plans that they wouldn’t come in until January 2026 at the earliest, and Rahm appeared doubtful that the changes would ever be implemented. He said: “We'll see, I guess, in three years what happens. I don't think we're going to get to a point to where we only play both Opens with a different golf ball. That would be a little bit silly. It's going to be an all-out change or no change at all. That would be my guess, but who knows.”

Earlier, equipment manufacturer TaylorMade questioned the plans and revealed it is inviting feedback it can present to the governing bodies. That followed Titleist claiming the plans were a “solution in search of a problem.” 

Other players have also spoken out against the proposals, including Bryson DeChambeau, who slammed them as ‘atrocious’ and Justin Thomas, who described them as “so bad for the game of golf”.

Mike Hall
News Writer

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.