"Extremely Disappointing" - Mickelson Reacts To Driver Length Rule Change

Unsurprisingly, Lefty isn't a fan of the new local rule that will stop players from using 48-inch driver shafts

Phil Mickelson close up picture
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly, Lefty isn't a fan of the new local rule that will stop players from using 48-inch driver shafts

Golf's governing bodies yesterday announced that a new local rule will come into force next year where professional and elite amateur competition organisers can limit the maximum driver shaft length to 46 inches, down from 48.

Having previously described the proposal as "pathetic", six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson, who has used a 48-inch driver shaft this year, was always going to be outspoken.

After the original announcement from golf's governing bodies confirming the change, Lefty tweeted "Stupid as stupid does."

And today he has voiced his disappointment after learning that, as expected, the PGA Tour will be adopting the new local rule.

"It is extremely disappointing to find out that the PGA Tour adopted the new USGA rule through the media," Mickelson said.

"I don’t know of any player who had any say or any kind of representation in this matter.

"I do know many are wondering if there’s a better way."

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The R&A and USGA discussed the potential change with the entire industry, including the world's best golfers, although they do not seem to be in favour of the change.

Related: Bifurcation is here - What will golf's governing bodies do next?

“I don’t really agree with it. I think it is, I don’t know. I feel like there’s a lot of other things, you know, like the arm bar putter that they should be approaching as opposed to the length of driver," Justin Thomas said.

"I think the fact that you see only a few people using a long driver speaks for itself, that it’s not really that big of an advantage. It’s a lot harder to hit it straight.

“In terms of do I think it makes the game of golf and growing the game better? No, I don’t at all, but they seem to have their kind of mind around that for a while now, so it seems to be the issue because if there’s an amateur golfer or players at home that want to hit it a little bit farther, so be it. Or if there’s guys out here that want to have a chance to put it in play with a 47‑, 48‑inch driver, then power to them. I had that opportunity; I just chose not to.

“I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is.”

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5