Rory McIlroy back bifurcation in distance debate

Joined Tiger Woods in speaking out in favour of a possible "bifurcation" of the rules of golf

Rory McIlroy has joined Tiger Woods in speaking out in favour of a possible “bifurcation” of the rules of golf which would see professionals and amateurs using different equipment.

Rory McIlroy back bifurcation in distance debate
(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Advances in fitness and golf equipment technology have seen players hit the ball further and further in recent years, leading to courses being lengthened in an effort to continue to test the world’s best.

Golf’s governing bodies announced last week that they intend to break the “ever-increasing cycle of hitting distance”, but admit it could take years before solutions are found.

The USGA and R&A will assess the potential of a “local rule” which would allow tournament committees to “specify use of clubs and/or balls intended to result in shorter hitting distances”.

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They have also pledged to review their current specifications for equipment to see if they require “tightening or adjusting”, but such potential changes would be aimed at top-level professionals and amateurs, rather than recreational players.

On Tuesday, Woods said designers were “running out of property” in trying to cope with the increased hitting distances and that if professionals were required to use different equipment from recreational players, it would affect “only one per cent of the guys or women”.

McIlroy offered a slightly different number in his press conference ahead of the Genesis Invitational, but the message was the same.

“A lot of the stuff about the ball going too far and technology, it really pertains to 0.1 per cent of golfers out there,” McIlroy said.

“So if they want to try to contain what we do, as touring professionals, I’m all for that. Selfishly I think that’s only a good thing for the better players.”

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