Charley Hoffman wants to make two things clear: He meant what he said Friday night on social media, and he has no intention of spurning the PGA Tour to go play for a rival league.
Hoffman caused a stir when he called out the USGA and PGA Tour in a lengthy Instagram post in which he complained about a specific ruling, criticized how Tour pros are governed and treated, and to top it all off, argued that said issues are one reason for players potentially leaving to join a proposed Saudi-backed circuit.
“I think I explained it fairly well,” Hoffman said Saturday after his third round of the WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, where he shot 8-over 79 to fall to solo 67th, last among the players who made the cut.
“It was definitely in the heat of the moment,” Hoffman added. “I mean there’s no question there. But as I told the rules official when I was done with the ruling that they said, ‘Oh, we’re working on this.’ Well, I said, ‘This shouldn’t have taken X amount of years from when it happened to Rickie [Fowler] at this tournament. That’s not taking care of it, that’s too long in between.”
Hoffman is referring to Fowler’s mishap in 2019, when Fowler’s penalty drop at the 11th hole on Sunday rolled back into the water. Fowler was penalized another shot, per Rules 9.3 and 18.2, though he ended up winning the title. Then on Friday, Hoffman was making a similar drop at the 13th hole when his penalty drop rolled down an embankment and splashed. He, too, was docked a stroke.
“How is that a rule that is good for the game of golf and how we play?” Hoffman said. “I mean, not one person at a country club would have taken another penalty for that; why is it, in professional golf, are we doing that?”
Full-field scores from WM Phoenix Open
Hoffman, who is one of four player directors on the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council, said he spoke with both the USGA and PGA Tour since his post went up. And from what Hoffman said – “the PGA Tour’s rewarding us by using social media … but they don’t like it when you don’t say something that may not be up to their standard” – it appears the Tour wasn’t happy, either.
But his main goal, Hoffman states, was to open rules dialogue – he remains hopeful the rule in question will be changed – not to make some sort of Player Impact Program play.
And he definitely isn’t about to bolt for another league.
“There’s no way that it’s ever crossed my mind to go over and play for a competitor. Ever,” Hoffman said. “And if it came across in that Instagram post that I have been reached by them – I have not been reached by them – it came across wrong. I added that so the media would catch it, so I would prove my point on the rules side.”
Continued Hoffman: “I support PGA Tour through and through, and I have no intention of going and playing in another league. But it is a real threat.”
Hoffman said he was fine being the lightning rod if it meant positive change.
“Hopefully a little bit of hard times for me going through this – probably going to catch a ton of crap – will make the game better,” Hoffman said. “And hopefully, the PGA Tour and the policy board and everybody gets together and we keep everybody here and we play in the U.S. the best game of golf in the world and we have the best players play week-in and week-out here in the United States.”
Hoffman then closed his interview with reporters: “Looking back, could I have done it behind closed doors? Probably. But sometimes that doesn’t always work.”