American golfer Charley Hoffman went onto Instagram to unleash a tirade over a penalty at the Phoenix Open that sparked discussion over Saudi-backed efforts to develop a rival tour.
Hoffman’s rant about players wanting to “jump ship” from the PGA Tour and a Saturday “clean up” on social media came after he wound up making a double bogey on the 13th hole at TPC Scottsdale on Friday.
Hoffman found water off the tee and took a drop on a slope, eventually placing the ball only to watch it roll down the hillside and into water for another penalty.
“What a joke @usga @pgatour,” Hoffman wrote on Instagram. “Today on the 13th hole I hit my drive in the water and took a drop on a side of a hill that (had) no grass. Dropped twice then place on a small tuff of grass. Turned around the ball started rolling into the water.
“I was under the impression that the @usga had changed that rule. I was wrong. Had to take another penalty for doing nothing wrong at all. Did everything by the book.”
Hoffman said Saturday he thought, wrongly as it turned out, he could re-place the ball with no penalty should such a thing occur, which is why he selected that option rather than drop farther back on the same line to take the slope out play.
“He chose that option and obviously on the bank,” PGA rules official Ken Tackett said Saturday. “You play the ball where it comes to rest at the new spot. The rule was explained to Charley.”
It is where Hoffman took his Friday social media complaint from there, however, that stirred the most talk, when he ripped into a rulemaking body, the US Golf Association, and the PGA Tour.
“It’s still mind blowing that a group of amateurs rule the professional game of golf,” Hoffman said. “I also blame the @pgatour rules officials for putting out a terrible penalty area line where this could even happen.
“No accountability at any level here. No protection for the players at all. You wonder why guys are wanting to jump ship and go play on another tour. Players need transparency, protection and consistency. We don’t have that under the current governing bodies.”
– ‘We need to do better’ –
While that same penalty line had been drawn on the hole for more than a decade, it was the remainder of the note to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan that also drew sparks.
“Sorry Jay! We need to do better at all levels of the @pgatour. Including myself who represent the players on the board of the Tour. If we don’t we won’t have a Tour any longer! Hopefully there will be a change soon.”
Two players who have reportedly been major targets of those pitching big money at top talent to join the new line-up supported Hoffman with replies on Instagram.
Bryson DeChambeau responded: “Agree wholeheartedly” and 2021 PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson replied: “I feel ya.”
Among those Hoffman hashtagged on his rant was last week’s Saudi International event that paid several top players to take part and skip a PGA Tour event.
Monahan approved releases for players to participate provided they agree to play the missed US event in the next two or three years and another event they had not before.
Hoffman toned down his emotions in a Saturday post on Instagram with a photo of him driving a garbage truck.
“Well it looks like I have some trash to clean up after last night’s rant!” Hoffman wrote. “I have nothing but respect for the @pgatour! Sometimes you have to use a platform to make a point so the PGA Tour can continue to be the best place to play professional golf in the world!”