Rory McIlroy is 'all for' bifurcating golf's equipment rules for pros and amateurs
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Rory McIlroy is ‘all for’ bifurcating golf’s equipment rules for pros and amateurs

The USGA and R&A released their long-awaited Distance Insights Report on Feb. 4, and some 10 days later, the golf world is still trying to decipher what the data means for the future of the game and what the governing bodies might ultimately do about advances in modern equipment.

A variety of top pros have been asked about the report, their takeaways and their perception of how technology has impacted their livelihood. Answers have varied wildly, ranging from suggestions that tournament organizers should grow the rough to the idea that there should be more limitations in what pros can put in their bag.

Count Rory McIlroy among those who believe the one-thousandth-of-a-percenters we call professional golfers should face their own set of equipment restrictions, leaving amateurs to their own devices.

"I think the biggest thing that came out of the report for me, a lot of the stuff about the ball going too far and technology, it really pertains to 0.1 percent of golfers out there," McIlroy said Wednesday at Riviera Country Club ahead of The Genesis Invitational.

"So look, if they want to try to contain what we do as touring professionals, I'm all for that."

The world No. 1 golfer seems to be advocating for bifurcating the Rules of Golf, creating a set of standards -- even if solely for equipment -- for professional and elite-level golfers, while allowing amateurs to use equipment that's already deemed legal and would be deemed legal in the future by the game's two governing bodies.

McIlroy feels he and other top players would benefit from less-forgiving equipment. However, his view isn't that narrow.

"Selfishly, I think that that's only a good thing for the better players," he said, "but for the game in general, I think one of the best things that came out of it was the sustainability aspect and the fact that architects building these golf courses, and not even architects to a degree, but
also the people that are giving the architects the money to build these golf courses with this grand ambition of maybe having a Tour event one day."

The Ulsterman recognizes golf's environmental challenges, particularly as fewer new courses are built to breathtaking standards.

He added, "Building these golf courses on these massive pieces of land, having to use so much water, so much fertilizer, 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."

Tournament host Tiger Woods entertained the idea of splitting golf's rules for amateurs and professionals, but he seems to believe a decades-long argument isn't going to be settled anytime soon.

"It's on the table whether we bifurcate or not," Woods said Tuesday. "It's only one percent of the guys or women that are going to be using that type of equipment, but we want to keep the game enjoyable, we want to keep having more kids want to come play it."

He added, "It's going to be probably even well after my career and my playing days that we will figure that out."

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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