SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Charley Hoffman expressed his displeasure with the PGA Tour on Friday night after a rules issue cost him a penalty stroke on a drop in the second round of the WM Phoenix Open.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Hoffman criticized the Tour’s rules officials, who he thinks aren’t held accountable, and accused the Tour of not protecting its players. He went on to suggest that those are among the reasons why players are considering playing on other tours.
The genesis of Hoffman’s post, which started with “What a joke @usga @pgatour,” was an issue he had on the 13th hole at the WM Phoenix Open. Hoffman hit his tee shot in the water, which added a penalty stroke to his score. The trouble began when he tried dropping for his third stroke. Hoffman explained in the post that he dropped twice in the side of a hill that didn’t have any grass. He explained that he finally found a “small tuff of grass” for the ball to lay, but when he turned around, the ball rolled back into the water.
Hoffman was forced to take another penalty stroke, even though he thought the USGA had changed that rule, which made his next shot his fourth stroke. He finished the par-5 hole with a double-bogey.
“I was under the impression that the @usga had changed that rule,” Hoffman wrote in his post. “I was wrong. Had to take another penalty for doing nothing wrong at all. Did everything by the book. It’s still mind blowing that a group of amateurs rule the professional game of golf.
“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.”
Hoffman then tagged a number of media outlets as well as the Saudi International tournament played in Saudi Arabia and the DP World Tour, which is part of the European Tour Group.
Hoffman, who is a member of the PGA Tour’s policy board, then apologized to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
“Sorry Jay! We need to do better at all levels of the @pgatour,” Hoffman wrote. “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.”
Some of Hoffman’s fellow pros chimed in among the more than 380 comments.
Phil Mickelson said: “I feel ya”
Bryson DeChambeau said: “Agree wholeheartedly”
Another pro, Emiliano Grillo, who missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open, joked in a comment: “Don’t hit it there” followed by three laughing emojis.
In his post, Hoffman referred to the threat of a proposed Saudi-backed tour that could challenge the PGA Tour and possible lure some of its top players because of more money at stake might strike a nerve with the Tour’s decision makers and raise eyebrows among the players.