Justin Thomas has labelled the prospect of shorter balls being used in elite tournaments "so bad" and slammed the "pretty selfish decisions" of golf's governing bodies.

The R&A and USGA have proposed a Model Local Rule that would allow organisers and tournaments the option to use a modified golf ball that reduces hitting distance by approximately 15 yards.

Martin Slumbers and Mike Whan, the heads of the respective organisations, confirmed the rule would not be implemented until 2026 but would then be introduced for their elite events – the Open Championship and the U.S. Open.

The plans were first mooted in 2020 to tackle concerns around the ever-increasing distance professionals hit the ball, but Tuesday's announcement has been met with criticism from numerous players.

"My reaction was disappointed and also not surprised, to be honest," two-time major champion Thomas said ahead of the Valspar Championship in Florida.

"I think the USGA over the years has in my eyes – it's harsh – made some pretty selfish decisions.

"I don't understand how this is 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...' I'm like, well, there shouldn't be a 'but' – you're trying to create a solution for a problem that doesn't exist.

"To me, it's just so bad for the game of golf.

"Some of the great things to me is the fact that you can play the exact same golf ball that I play. I mean, that's cool. For an everyday amateur golfer, it's very unique that we are able to play the exact same equipment.

"I understand that I may have a different grind on a wedge, whatever you want to call it, but you can go to the pro shop and buy the same golf ball that I play or Scottie Scheffler plays or whatever."

Thomas, who is sponsored by ball-manufacturer Titleist, ridiculed the idea that professionals would end up using different balls at different tournaments and even suggested some of the game's stars may ignore the proposals if they were implemented.

"The amount of time and money that these manufacturers have spent trying to create the best product possible, and now you're going to tell them and us that we have to start over," he said.

"If the PGA Tour, PGA of America don't adopt this local rule... two of the four biggest events of the year, we're going to have to use a different ball?

"Why are this group of call it five to 15-handicapped amateurs determining the rules of golf for professional golfers? Or why are they saying that we have to do something?

"So, is it something where down the road, if you want to change something based off of your data that we feel like is pretty biased and incorrect and self-centred to what you believe in, then maybe we'll just create our own, or we'll do our own thing.”