Justin Thomas has been a frequent (and vocal) critic of the new golf rules players are navigating for the first time this year. On Thursday at the Honda Classic, Thomas found a different new rule to complain about.
When his drive at the 10th hole nestled behind a tree, JT was forced to hit the shot knowing full well his 9-iron would smack into the tree on the follow-through. But instead of breaking the club, the impact bent the shaft near the hosel.
“I thought the way the club was going to hit the tree it was just going to break, and being at home, I was like, all right, I just have to avoid a 9-iron the rest of the day,” Thomas told reporters after his round. “But it didn’t break, it kind of hit kind of near the hosel and just kind of sent a little shock up my arm.”
Under the new golf rules, if a player bends a shaft during play, they can choose to repair the club and continue to use it. That’s a change from the old rules, when players were prohibited from using clubs damaged during the round.
Thomas made it clear how he felt about the change, saying, “You can just add that one to the list of rules that don’t make any sense.”
But the rule change would not have altered the outcome for Thomas. After trying and failing to repair the club by stepping on the hosel, Thomas chose to keep the damaged club in his bag because he didn’t know how the loft had changed and “wasn’t going to risk it.”
That means he had to wait and replace the club before the third round. On the next two holes, he was forced to use a wedge when he normally would have used his 9-iron. But that is exactly what would have happened if the new golf rules didn’t exist.
In the end, after being asked specifically how he would have handled the situation under the old rule, Thomas came to the realization that perhaps this particular change in the new golf rules didn’t deserve his criticism.
“Now that I think about it, it doesn’t really make a big difference,” Thomas said
And with that the press conference ended, but the controversy and confusion surrounding the new golf rules continues on the PGA Tour.
This isn’t the first time Thomas announced his distaste for the new golf rules. In January, he said he “can’t take [himself] seriously” putting with the flagstick in, something that is now allowed under the new rules.
Just last week, Thomas made his most forceful comments yet about the new golf rules, saying, “I think they’re terrible.”