Why Rory McIlroy’s balls decision could boost his Masters chances
Rory McIlroy is considering playing with a shorter golf ball in the hope of boosting his chances of completing the career grand slam at next month’s Masters.
In a bid to curb ever-increasing driving distances at elite level, golf chiefs are giving tournaments the power to make players use Model Local Rule balls which travel around 15 yards less.
The PGA Tour is yet to embrace the controversial move but most of the men’s Majors are expected to, so McIlroy is ready to voluntarily use the shorter balls in order to acclimatise.
“For me the major championships are the biggest deal,” McIlroy, who has won every major except the Masters, told the No Laying Up podcast.
“So if the PGA Tour doesn’t implement it, I might still play the Model Local Rule ball because I know that that’ll give me the best chance and the best preparation leading into the major championships.
“This is personal preference and personal opinion at this stage of my career. I know that I’m going to be defined by the amount of major championships that I hopefully will win from now until the end of my career.
“That’s the most important thing for me. If that gives me the best chance to succeed at the major championships and feel as prepared as I possibly can be, then that’s what I would do.”
Big-hitting players such as Bryson DeChambeau have highlighted the increasing distances that modern professionals can drive a golf ball.
The average driving distance on the PGA Tour is 297 yards, an increase of 12 yards since the turn of the century, while DeChambeau and McIlroy routinely clear 320 yards.
It has led to fears that top players are rendering some courses obsolete, prompting golf’s lawmakers the R&A and USGA to propose the Model Local Rule.
The Masters is due to take place at Augusta National on 6-9 April.