Tour commissioner reaches out to players after latest rules controversy

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has sent a memo to all players as the rift between the pros and the game’s governing bodies rages on.

Monahan’s hand was no doubt forced by the latest controversy involving Justin Thomas and the USGA, which threatened to boil over after the USGA took the unusual step off hitting back at Thomas’ criticism on Twitter.

When Thomas took to social media to question the USGA and R&A’s handling of the new rule regarding caddie alignment, the USGA responded with a tweet from its PR account, saying that Thomas had “cancelled every meeting” they’d planned and that they “needed to talk.”

Thomas’ comments came after Adam Schenk became the third player to be penalized for the caddie alignment violation as he played out of a bunker at the Honda Classic.

In the memo, Monahan points out rules makeover has been a “collaborative process” that the Tour has “been a part of from the beginning” and that players will continue to be able to offer their input and feedback in a bid to fine tune the changes.

“[The Tour] put forward a lengthy list of recommendations to improve the rules in many ways, including the removal of numerous penalties, and virtually all our suggestions were incorporated,” the memo reads. “We also had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed rules prior to implementation, which resulted in modifications for the final version.

“You will continue to have an avenue to voice your questions and concerns, either through our team, the player advisory council or directly to USGA representatives as they continue to be on-site during our events to gather feedback.”

Monahan clearly feels the need to step in and try and mediate some of the friction between the players and the game’s governing bodies, but the memo is unlikely to put an end to the controversy.