February 13, 2020

Rory McIlroy weighs in to golf’s distance debate

Is Rory McIlroy in favour of bifurcation? Judging from his comments this week, it certainly appears so.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, the world No.1 have his thoughts on the conclusions drawn by the R&A and USGA in the Distance Insights Report they published last week.

The game’s governing bodies described the creeping gains being made in hitting distance as “undesirable” and pledged to investigate ways to ensure that trend is stopped in its tracks.

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They appear to be open to most options with one exception – separate standards for the professional and amateur games, or bifurcation for short.

However, McIlroy appears to think they’re missing a trick by ruling that out.

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“A lot of the stuff about the ball going too far and technology really pertains to 0.1% of golfers out there,” said the Northern Irishman. “If they want to try to contain what we do as touring professionals, I’m all for that.

Instead of getting a tighter harness on golf equipment, McIlroy believes that the R&A and USGA should focus their attention on educating architects and golf course developers.

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“Building golf courses on these massive pieces of land, having to use so much water, so much fertiliser, pesticides, all the stuff that we really shouldn’t be doing nowadays especially in the climate we live in and everything that’s happening in our world. 

“You look at what happened in Australia, you look at what happens in California every August, September, October time with fires and global warming. I think golf has a responsibility to minimize its footprint as much as it possibly can.”

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