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.