McIlroy worried that anchoring row may cast amateur game adrift
Rory McIlroy: in favour of "trying to make the game as easy as possible and bringing people to the game" but against any move to introduce one set of rules for tour players and another for amateurs. photograph: ralph freso/reuters
Tim Finchem can forget about counting on Rory McIlroy’s support if the PGA Tour decides to go to war with golf’s governing bodies over plans to outlaw the anchored putting stroke.
The PGA Tour Commissioner made what amounted to a veiled threat to the RA and the USGA in Tucson on Sunday when he announced the American circuit is against the proposed rule change.
While Finchem did not indicate which direction the PGA Tour would go if the USGA and RA follows through with the ban this spring and makes it a rule of golf in January 2016, McIlroy is not happy to see the spectre of bifurcation hovering over the game.
The 23-year old used Twitter to make his position on anchoring clear last November, writing: “Fully agree with the anchoring ban. Better image for the game of golf, skill and nerves are all part of the game. Level playing field in ’16.”
Yesterday, as he prepared for his title defence at the Honda Classic, the world number one insisted golf must adhere to the final decision of the governing bodies on the matter and avoid any temptation to introduce one set of rules for amateurs and another for tour players.
“Obviously I saw what Tim Finchem had to say at the end of last week, and it seems like the European Tour is going to go a different way,” McIlroy said.
“[Colin Montgomerie] Monty said this divide isn’t good for golf, and I don’t think it is. I think we all need to be on one side or the other. It’s up to the governing bodies at the end of the day to decide.”
McIlroy did say the proposed ban was “a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to how much success people were having with it”, following major wins by belly putter exponents Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els over the past two years.
He’s in favour of “trying to make the game as easy as possible and bringing people to the game” but against any move to introduce one set of rules for tour players and another for amateurs. Bifurcation? No thanks.
“It’s just a bit of a mess,” he said. “It’s just opened a can of worms.
“We’ve trusted this game of golf; we’ve put it in the hands of the RA and the USGA for I don’t know how many years, and we’ve always abided by the rules they have set. I don’t think this should be any different.