Thursday 14 November 2019

McIlroy calls for unity

Rory McIlroy believes golf should have just one set of rules
Rory McIlroy believes golf should have just one set of rules

World number one Rory McIlroy has issued a plea for unity over the controversial rule changes on putting which could split the game.

The PGA Tour has come out against the proposed ban of anchored putters from 2016, joining the PGA of America in opposing the move. Golf's governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, announced the proposed changes last year and a 90-day consultation period for views on the rule changes to be expressed expires on Thursday.

And although PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem did not specify what would happen if the ban comes into force, there is a real danger of different rules being applied at different events. "I saw what Tim Finchem had to say and it seems like the European Tour is going to go a different way," McIlroy told a press conference.

The PGA Tour runs the lucrative American circuit and plays a dominant role in staging World Golf Championship events.

Traditionally they adopt the rules of golf as determined by the R&A and USGA, who run the Open Championship and US Open respectively, while the PGA of America organise the US PGA Championship and American Ryder Cup team.

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady has previously hinted they will abide with the R&A, saying with regard to the rules: "We follow them, we don't make them."

McIlroy had also said that he fully agreed with the ban, but speaking ahead of his defence of the Honda Classic, he added: "I read a thing Monty (Colin Montgomerie) said that this divide isn't good for golf and I don't think it is. We either need to all be on one side or the other.

"It's up to the governing bodies at the end of the day to decide. I sort of think it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to how much success people were having with it (players using long putters have won three of the last five majors).

"I'm all for people enjoying the game and trying to make the game as easy as possible and bringing people to the game, and if that means they should allow anchored putters to make it easier for the general public then that's a good thing.

"But then they talk about bifurcation, whether you should have one set of rules for us and one set for the amateurs and it's just a bit of a mess and opened a can of worms."

PA Media

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