Some PGA Tour players, including former world No.1 Justin Thomas, have rounded on the USGA after the latest in a string of high-profile rules breaches so far in 2019.
American golfer Adam Schenk was retroactively hit with a two-shot penalty after the second round of this week’s Honda Classic after it was determined that he and his caddie had broken rule 10.2b(4), which forbids caddie alignment.
The contentious ruling was one of a number of changes to game’s laws that came into effect on January 1.
In a statement, the PGA Tour said: “The penalty occurred as a result of Adam’s caddie standing behind him once he took his stance, but not taking any action subsequently that would absolve him of penalty, for example backing out of his stance.”
Schenk later said that his “intention was never to cheat” and “what’s done is done”.
However, some of his fellow players were less diplomatic – Thomas amongst them.
My problem with the rule is that unless a caddie is clearly lining a player up (which is very obvious), I don’t see how there’s any benefit to it. Doesn’t make the game any better in my eyes. That being said, we know the rule and have to be careful to go by it— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 2, 2019
His fellow major champion Keegan Bradley was even more scornful.
In response to Thomas, the USGA tweeted to say that they had attempted (unsuccessfully) to communicate with him on the matter and that they felt “we need to talk”.
A follow-up tweet seemed to imply that Thomas had responded to their initial message.
Justin, thanks for connecting with us offline. We look forward to meeting with you and talking through these issues. It's clear we both want to do what's right by the game.— USGA PR (@USGA_PR) March 3, 2019
Stay tuned, folks. Something tells us this thing is far from over…