Rory McIlroy, Unlike Most Of His PGA Tour Peers, Really Likes The Idea Of Rolling Back The Golf Ball

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While other PGA Tour superstars have reacted negatively to the recently announced proposal to roll back the golf ball, Rory McIlroy is all for it.

The proposed Model Local Rule (MLR) agreed upon by the USGA and R&A has circled 317 yards to be the “Overall Distance Standard” with a plus three-yard tolerance. This would mean the rolled-back golf ball would not travel beyond 320 yards and, in turn, be nerfed to travel a shorter distance in general.

The proposed local rule is not intended for recreational golfers and tournament organizers would have the option to either adopt the rule or not.

McIlroy is on board with the idea for two main reasons: it doesn’t affect the recreational golfer and, in his opinion, gives the more well-rounded player more opportunity to succeed.

“I’m glad in this new proposal that they haven’t touched the recreational golfer. But for elite level play, I really like it. I really do,” McIlroy told No Laying Up. “I know that’s a really unpopular opinion amongst my peers, but I think it’s going to help identify who the best players are a bit easier. 

“I think you’re gonna see people with more well-rounded games succeed easier than what the game has become, which is a bit bomb and gouge over these last few years.”

Golf's Governing Bodies Confirm Plans To Reduce Distances, Ball Rollback
Rory McIlroy, against the opinion of his peers, says he really likes the idea or rolling back the golf ball. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images for The CJ Cup)

Rory McIlroy Knows Rolling Back The Golf Ball Would Actually Help Him

McIlroy also recognizes that rolling back the golf ball would only help the longest hitters on Tour, which he just so happens to lead the Tour in average driving distance (326.6 yards).

“Selfishly, I think it helps me. I think this is only gonna help the better player. You know, it might help the longer player too, in some ways. But I think it’s going to help the overall professional game,” McIlroy continued.

The idea here is that the longest players on Tour will still be the longest players, therefore, they’ll still have shorter irons into greens while some of the shorter hitters will have much longer irons into greens which will inevitably lead to more missed greens and higher scores.

Justin Thomas shared this same thought about how rolling the ball back would actually help his game, but he’s completely against the idea.

“I mean, I’m all for not letting it go any further. And I think this is another important thing, like, this would help me. Rolling the ball back is only going to help, I feel like, somebody who hits it far and is a good ball-striker. It’s just an advantage for me even more so, I feel like, than I have and I’m still not for it,” Thomas explained.

Bryson DeChambeau sounded off against the idea of rolling back the ball as well calling it “atrocious.” Jon Rahm has expressed that he isn’t on board with rolling the ball back either.

If adopted, the proposal would take effect on January 1, 2026.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris


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