golf ball rollback

‘You think we play the same stuff you do?’: Rory McIlroy responds to rollback rage

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have no issue with golf ball rollback, but some players are passionately against the proposed changes…


Rory McIlroy “doesn’t understand” the anger towards golf ball rollback.

A new report has suggested rollback could affect all golfers as opposed to just elite male players which was the USGA and R&A’s first suggestion.

The Northern Irishman wrote on Twitter/X that possible universal changes “will make no difference whatsoever to the average golfer.”

Some PGA Tour players have slammed plans that could significantly shave yards off the tee that have rocketed so much in recent years, but McIlroy has the opposite view.

“I don’t understand the anger about the golf ball rollback. It will make no difference whatsoever to the average golfer and puts golf back on a path of sustainability,” he wrote.

“It will also help bring back certain skills in the pro game that have been eradicated over the past two decades.

“The people who are upset about this decision shouldn’t be mad at the governing bodies, they should be mad at elite pros and club/ball manufacturers because they didn’t want bifurcation.

“The governing bodies presented us with that option earlier this year. Elite pros and ball manufacturers think bifurcation would negatively affect their bottom lines, when in reality, the game is already bifurcated.

“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.”

The R&A and the USGA are determined not to do nothing, in the words of the R&A’s chief executive Martin Slumbers, which means either to bifurcate or to change the entire game.

McIlroy expressed support for bifurcation when the governing bodies first announced the plans for a new Model Local Rule in March

You can read what NCG’s From The Clubhouse team think here, but what do other players think of this newest update?

Those in favour of the motion, say ‘aye’

There aren’t many PGA Tour stars in favour of golf ball rollback, it should be said.

Tiger Woods insisted he has always supported bifurcation after the third round of the Hero World Challenge.

The 15-time major champion said, “We just don’t have the property anymore,” and compared golf’s current state to baseball.

“This has been I guess the talk ever since I’ve been out on tour,” he said.

“And then to finally see it come to this point where I think both governing bodies who control the rules around the world are going to come to a collaborative understanding of how far.

“We just don’t have enough property anymore. So I think that understanding that yeah, we’ve been hammering the ball needs to slow down, but it has kept speeding up my entire career and here we are.

“I’ve always been for bifurcation. I’ve always said that. Just like wood bats and metal bats.”

golf ball rollback

Those opposed, say ‘no’

One at a time, please. The naysayers have been the loudest thus far.

Golf Digest’s David Shedloski reported former PGA champion Keegan Bradley has already been beating rolled-back balls to get used to prospective future conditions.

Bradley described the concept of rollback as “one of the dumbest things” he’s ever heard.

“Srixon made whatever the USGA was saying, and it was 40, 50 yards (shorter) with my driver,” Bradley said.

“I was a club or two shorter. I think that the USGA – everything that they do is reactionary. They don’t think of a solution. They just think we’re going to affect a hundred per cent of the population that plays golf.

“For the amateur world to hit the ball shorter is monstrous. I can’t think of anything more stupid than that. I don’t think it’s very smart at all, especially when golf’s growing in popularity literally coming out of COVID.

“I don’t know what the ramifications are going to be with the ball – what they’re going to do, what direction they going to go,” he added.

“It would have to be a complete overhaul of the equipment that I use, the shafts that I use. Yeah, I mean the amount of change that’s happened just in the course of my career is insane.

“I think we constantly get penalised for mistakes they (governing bodies) make. Whether they let the ball go too far, that’s not our problem.

“They (are doing this) to punish not only the professional golfers but the world of golf for something that they screwed up on. I really think it’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard of.”

Fellow American Rickie Fowler also suggested rollback could stunt golf’s momentum after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fowler was ranked 39th in driving distance on tour in 2023, averaging just over 308 yards off the tee.

“There are other ways of going about this,” he said.

“To take the game and knock it back when it’s in the best position it’s ever been in, I don’t want to see it as the golf ball being necessarily the right move.

“I don’t see how when we’re at the best place the game has ever been. ‘Oh, you love the game? Yeah. Hey, thanks for joining us over Covid. Now we’re going to make you hit it 20 yards shorter. Have fun.’

“I understand both sides. But looking at it as far as the game and everyone talks about growing the game, I think it’s going to be a huge step back.”

NOW READ: Players who rejected golf ball rollback from the start

NOW READ: ‘The game has been destroyed’: Billy Foster has no doubts distance is ruining golf

Where do you all on the PGA Tour-golf ball rollback debate? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spoken to the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson, to name just a few.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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