Rory McIlroy defends golf ball rollback: ‘No difference’ to average golfer

With the USGA and R&A reportedly set to announce a universal rollback of the standard golf ball, Rory McIlroy is among those who are defending the governing bodies in the wake of their decision.

The four-time major champion from Northern Ireland voiced his opinions of the rollback in a social media post Sunday.

“I don’t understand the anger” about the rollback, McIlroy wrote in part. “It will make no difference whatsoever to the average golfer and puts golf back on a path of sustainability. It will also help bring back certain skills in the pro game that have been eradicated over the past 2 decades.”

The rollback of the golf ball to reduce distances for professional and amateur players alike — a topic of discussion in the sport for months on end — will be formalized in an announcement from the USGA and R&A next week, Golf Digest reported Friday.

Golf balls will be tested at a new swing speed of 125 mph, rather than the old 120 mph standard. The balls must not surpass the distance limit of 317 yards despite this change, as Golf Digest explained. Therefore, manufacturers of golf balls will be expected to change their design to conform with the new testing standard.

McIlroy feels those who don’t like the new rules should not be upset with the USGA and R&A, but rather the “elite pros and club/ball manufacturers because they didn’t want bifurcation.” He claimed the governing bodies presented bifurcation as an option — one set of rules for pros, another for the average weekend duffer.

“Elite pros and ball manufacturers think bifurcation would negatively affect their bottom lines, when in reality, the game is already bifurcated,” he said. “You think we play the same stuff you do? They put pressure on the governing bodies to roll it back to a lesser degree for everyone. Bifurcation was the logical answer for everyone, but yet again in this game, money talks.”