“There’s so many benefits” - Pádraig Harrington defends USGA’s new golf ball roll-back plan amid criticism

Pádraig Harrington
Pádraig Harrington (Image via Getty)

Pádraig Harrington defended the USGA's new golf ball roll-back. Officials recently announced changes to the golf ball for the elite competition and issued a notice to the manufacturing companies stating the new changes.

The announcement received mixed reactions from golfers as well as fans. Some were totally against the decision, and a few defended it.

Pádraig Harrington had plenty of reasons to support the decision. In his recent interview with the PGA Tour's Sirius XM, the golfer explained:

"There’s so many winners by rolling back the ball, or rolling back the equipment. In terms of cost, the cost of building a golf course, the cost of maintaining a golf course, the speed of play is going to be incredibly improved by reducing the distance, by reducing the size of the golf course and also reducing the amount of waiting time on par-fives and par-fours."

He went on to add:

"There’s so many benefits to rolling it back. Old golf courses come back into play, great golf courses come back into play. Environmentally, reducing the footprint. So many reasons to roll it back.”

"Try to explain to me how that’s better for the game of golf": Justin Thomas criticizes the USGA's new ball changes

The new changes proposed by the USGA have received mixed reactions from golfers. Justin Thomas was disappointed by the changes. The American golfer talked about the ball roll-back in his interview ahead of the PGA Tour's Valspar Championship.

He believes that reducing the size of the ball will not be for the betterment of the game. Speaking about the changes, Justin Thomas explained:

"My reaction was disappointed and also not surprised, to be honest. I think the USGA over the years has, in my eyes, it’s harsh, but made some pretty selfish decisions. They definitely, in my mind, have done a lot of things that aren’t for the betterment of the game, although they claim it."

Thomas went on to reveal that he talked about the same to members of the USGA but was not happy with their explanation. He mentioned that the officials had created a solution for a non-existent problem.

“I had conversations with some USGA members and to me," Thomas said. "I don’t understand how it’s growing the game. For them to say in the same sentence that golf is in the best place it’s ever been, everything is great, but and I’m like, well, there shouldn’t be a but. You’re trying to create a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

Thomas went on to exhibit his disappointment and said:

"Try to explain to me how that’s better for the game of golf. Why are this group of, call it 5- to 15-handicapped amateurs, determining the rules of golf for professional golfers or why are they saying that we have to do something?”

It is pertinent to note that the USGA sent the "modal local rule", which will only be implemented in 2026. However, fans also found it to be a terrible idea.

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Edited by Sabine Algur
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