PGA Of America Among Latest To Voice Opposition Against Golf Ball Rollback Proposal

The World Alliance of PGA’s have joined the PGA Tour in not supporting the USGA and R&A's proposed Model Local Rule

Seth Waugh, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America, speaks to the media during a press conference prior to the 2023 PGA Championship
PGA of America CEO, Seth Waugh led further calls in opposition to the rollback
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The World Alliance of PGA’s have become the latest group to voice their opposition at the USGA and R&A’s proposed golf rollback plans, labelling them “fundamentally damaging and detrimental in the long run.”

In March, the two governing bodies announced plans for a new Model Local Rule, which would see the bifurcation of the golf ball. Recreational golfers would be unaffected but the rule would see professional golfers use new specially-tested golf balls from 2026 in an aim to curb ever-increasing hitting distances. 

The plans have sparked furious debates in all corners of the golfing community, with the PGA World Alliance - made up of nine PGAs around the world, including America - the latest to voice their displeasure at the proposal.

“We fear that the proposed changes could seriously interrupt the current momentum in the game and be fundamentally damaging and detrimental in the long run,” the letter, signed by PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh and obtained by, read.

“It is something that we feel could lead to division and cause us to lose a very precarious characteristic of golf; the fact that we all play on the same course with the same clubs and balls. In our view, this dynamic should be preserved as a fundamental tenet.”

Alongside this, the letter also cited a number of operational concerns it had with the potential changes such as the monitoring of players, retailers having to stock two different types of balls and the implementation of a coherent handicap system. 

It also feared that suggestions to allow professional women golfers to use a different ball might harm the game “at a time when we are all trying to promote and champion women’s golf and participation.” 

This letter comes less than two weeks after the PGA Tour publicly came out against the proposed rollback with a host of players and equipment providers also not in favour of the change.

"Although there has been some level of support for limiting future increases, there is widespread and significant belief the proposed Modified Local Rule is not warranted and is not in the best interest of the game,” Jay Monahan wrote.

For now, the World Alliance of PGAs has suggested an extension to the consultation period - set to end on August 14th - to ensure that the “conflicting data” can be further examined and a white paper can be produced to potentially consider alternative solutions to the distance debate.

“We respectfully ask that you consider pushing back the implementation of any roll back thereby maintaining the status quo significantly past the currently contemplated dates. We believe this to be the best approach toward a truly collaborative industry proposal and potential alternative to the thorny challenges of bifurcation,” they ended.

Without the support of the PGAs and PGA Tour, any Model Local Rules may now be difficult to force through. The USGA has not commented publicly on the two statements but issued a brief statement to Golf Channel. 

The governing body said: “We remain in a Notice & Comment period, accepting feedback from voices from across the game. The PGA is an important stakeholder and we appreciate the feedback they have contributed to this conversation.”

Ben Fleming

Ben joined Golf Monthly having completed his NCTJ in multimedia sports journalism at News Associates, London. He is now a freelance journalist who also works for The Independent, Metro, UEFA and Stats Perform.