McIlroy: Distance Insights Project "A Huge Waste Of Time And Money"

The four-time Major winner says the governing bodies could have spent the money on growing the game for youngsters and minorities

McIlroy: Distance Insights Project "A Huge Waste Of Time And Money"
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The four-time Major winner says the governing bodies could have spent the money on growing the game for youngsters and minorities

McIlroy: Distance Insights Project "A Huge Waste Of Time And Money"

Rory McIlroy has called the R&A and USGA's Distance Insights Report a "huge waste of time and money."

In a rant to media after his press conference ahead of the Phoenix Open, the four-time Major winner, clearly angry at the new proposed equipment changes, was highly critical of the work being done to reduce hitting distances.

McIlroy is the third high-profile player today to speak out against the proposed changes along with Justin Thomas and Webb Simpson.

Thomas said the governing bodies were "extremely selfish" and Simpson said that course design was the problem, not equipment.

With even harsher words, Rory McIlroy said the R&A and USGA have been wasting their money on investigating distance when they could spend it on other areas, like introducing more young people and minorities to golf.

"I think the R&A and USGA are looking at the game of golf through such a tiny little lens that what they're trying to do is change something that pertains to 0.1% of the golfing community," McIlroy said.

"99.9% of people that play this game play it for enjoyment, they play it for entertainment, they don't need to be told what ball to use or clubs to use.

"I mean, we have to make the game as easy and as approachable as possible for the majority of golfers.

"So honestly I think this distance insights report honestly has been a huge waste of time and a huge waste of money because that money that it's cost do this report could have been way better distributed to getting people into the game, introducing younger kids to the game, introducing minorities to the game.

"I heard Mike Davis [USGA Chief Executive] say something about 'We're trying to protect the game for next 100 years,' this isn't how you do it.

"This is so small, it's so inconsequential compared to the other things that are happening in the game.

"It's the grassroots, it's getting more people engaged in golf, that's where they should be spending their money, not spending it on the distance insights report."

Related: Is bifurcation coming? Governing bodies proposal drastic equipment changes

Whilst clearly against any proposed equipment changes for amateurs, McIlroy says he is all for bifurcation, where professionals would use different equipment and play by different rules to amateurs.

"I would be all for that," he said.

"If they try to make the game more difficult for us or try to incorporate more skill to the game, yeah I would be all for that because I think it only benefits the better player, which I feel like I am.

"I think maybe they said that in terms of like local rules and maybe some sort of bifurcation but we are such a tiny portion of golf.

"Like golf is way bigger than the professional game.

"We are such a tiny part of it, it's the other stuff that really matters and that's the stuff that they need to concentrate on."

When Rory speaks, the entire golfing world listens - the governing bodies will certainly be stewing over these comments tonight.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5