Rory McIlroy says golf ball rules announced on Wednesday aimed at taming the biggest hitters will bring certain “skills” back to the sport and make it more entertaining.
The longest hitters are expected to lose up to 15 yards in driving distance under regulations relating to ball specifications set out by the game’s governing bodies, the UK-based R&A and US Golf Association.
The new rules will apply at elite level from 2028 and for recreational players from 2030.
“I think it’ll just bring back some skills into the pro game that have maybe been lost and I actually think it’ll make the pro game more entertaining to watch,” McIlroy, a four-time Major winner, told Sky Sports. “I think you’re going to see a different variety of games succeed.”
The R&A and USGA said they wanted to protect the integrity of golf courses, including their overall length, and ensure that a variety of skills were required for success.
A joint statement added: “Longer golf courses require additional resources such as water, the cost of renovating or moving elements like tees and bunkers continues to rise and other long-term impacts have been identified as a result of increased distance.”
The change will have less of an impact in women’s professional golf and a “minimal distance impact” for most recreational golfers.
“Governance is hard,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA. “And while thousands will claim that we did too much, there will be just as many who said we didn’t do enough to protect the game long-term.
“But from the very beginning, we’ve been driven to do what is right for the game, without bias. As we’ve said, doing nothing is not an option – and we would be failing in our responsibility to protect the game’s future if we didn’t take appropriate action now.”
“I think this change will make the game more skilful again” 💬
World number two golfer Rory McIlroy has backed the new changes to rules regarding golf ball specifications which will see a reduce in distance they travel 🏌️👇 pic.twitter.com/XamHvgVhBA
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 6, 2023
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