McIlroy slams proposed rule changes to reduce hitting distance

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(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy has criticised golf's lawmakers for considering changes to equipment that would tame the power of the game's big hitters, saying the campaign is "a huge waste of time and money".

The Royal and Ancient (R&A), in conjunction with the United States Golf Association (USGA), has proposed reducing driver shaft length to 46 inches from the current limit of 48.

Another "area of interest" for the R&A and USGA is for the potential use of local rules that would specify the use of clubs and/or balls, resulting in shorter distances.

The proposals are part of the latest updates to the Distance Insights Report published last February that said increased hitting distances changed the challenge of the game and risked making courses obsolete.

"I think the authorities are looking at the game through such a tiny little lens, that what they're trying to do is change something that pertains to 0.1% of the golfing community," four-times major champion McIlroy said.

"Ninety-nine percent of the people that play this game play for enjoyment. They don't need to be told what ball or clubs to use.

"I think this report has been a huge waste of time and money, because the money that it's cost to do this report could have been way better distributed to getting people into the game."

U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who tried out a 48-inch driver last year and topped the 2020 PGA driving distance charts with a colossal 329-yard average, welcomed the proposed changes.

"I'm not worried about it. There's no issues," he said. "It's funny, I'm sure there's a lot of excitement about me having a potentially controversial thought on it but I don't."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)