Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are two of the most important names in the world of golf and have recently come together to voice their support for the proposed rule that will limit the distance a golf ball can travel in professional tournaments. This rule introduced by the USGA and the R&A seeks to reduce the distance that the ball can travel by about 20 yards beginning in 2026. The aim of this rollback is to make sure that golf courses do not get too long with the increasing improvements made in golf equipment technology.
It is no surprise that Woods, a six-time Masters Champion, and McIlroy agree on the importance of the proposal to ensure the future of golf. Woods, speaking on the matter, commented on the need to acknowledge the future realities of golf, such as the athletes getting stronger and faster with every generation. He further highlighted that players should use a pro ball if they have a ‘P’ next to their name.
At the other end of the spectrum, many players, including Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, and Jon Rahm, have voiced their opposition to the proposal. This includes the chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, Fred Ridley, who is set to speak on the issue on Wednesday. The 13th hole has been recently lengthened in the Masters and this could be a topic of discussion.
Apart from looking at the players, the manufacturers are also being taken into account as opinions from them are being collected until August 14. The governing bodies are also looking at other options, such as equipment size and ball spin, as alternatives to the proposed rule.
The debate over golf ball rollback is a clear indication that golf is going through a period of transition, with changes being discussed worldwide to ensure the game remains enjoyable and fair for all players. The highly anticipated contest between Woods and McIlroy, who will start their first round of the Masters at 10.18am on Thursday, will certainly provide much-needed insight into the debate.