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Phil Mickelson has hit out at the R&A and USGA over the introduction of a new rule that will allow tournament organisers to restrict the maximum length of players’ clubs.

From January 1, a new Model Local Rule (MLR G-10) will be at the disposal of those running professional or elite amateur golf competitions, given them the option to limit the maximum length of a golf club – excluding putters – to 46 inches.

This is seen reckoned to the first, tentative step towards bifurcation and is seen by many as a direct response to the big-hitting exploits of Bryson DeChambeau and the game’s other top pros.

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Earlier this year, DeChambeau revealed he was toying with the idea of putting a 48-inch driver – then the maximum allowed length – into play in a bid to hit the ball even further. 

Whilst he ultimately decided not to, others took heed of the former US Open champ’s experimentations, including Mickelson who used a 47.5˚ driver when he won the US PGA Championship in record-breaking fashion in May.

Mickelson has been an outspoken opponent of this change since it was first proposed by the game’s governing bodies earlier this year.

After news of its introduction was confirmed earlier today, he took to Twitter to vent his frustration – quoting a line from Forrest Gump to illustrate his point.

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“Are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game the stupid ones?” he added. “Or the professionals for letting them?”

The 51-year-old isn’t the only top player aggrieved at the news. 

Speaking ahead of this week’s CJ CUP in Las Vegas, Justin Thomas said: “I don’t really agree with it. I feel like there’s a lot of other things, like the arm bar putter, that they should be approaching as opposed to the length of driver.

“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.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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