McIlroy feels for Finau in backing rule changes

Bernie McGuire

Rory McIlroy joked that he feels sorry for Tony Finau in backing changes to the Rules of Golf that came into affect on 1st January, 2019.

Among the rules changes it is now legal to putt while on the putting surface with the flagstick in the hole and you can also tap-down spike marks that may be in your line of putt.

But in one of the more bizarre changes, one that could easily lead to all forms of interpretation, players will now have to take a penalty drop by dropping the ball from knee height in contrast to dropping from shoulder high.


McIlroy was asked his view of the changes ahead of making his debut in this week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and while supporting the changes, that also include a ruling that you now ‘play when ready’ rather than wait for any playing behind you to play their shots, he spared a thought for lanky American Tony Finau who stands all of 6-feet, 4-inches.

“The changes might help pace of play a little bit but it’s going to be very strange for guys to tap down spike marks, to tap in with the pin in,” said McIlroy.

“There’s going to be a few things that are, practicing your drops from your knees. We’re saying that Brian Harman has got a big advantage, he can basically place it though you’ve also got someone like Tony Finau who is dropping it probably from like waist high for me.”

“But I think that they’re trying to simplify the rules which I think is a great thing for the game.”

“I’ve always said that the Rules of Golf are way too complicated, especially after the debacles and farces we have had at U.S. Opens and all sorts of stuff over the last few years. So, I’m happy that they made the decision to try and simplify them and just try to make everything a little bit easier to understand.”

However, McIlroy revealed he was not one bit interested attending a ‘voluntary’ meeting of all playes competing in Hawaii that was arranged to discuss the changes.

“That rules meeting was voluntary and I voluntarily didn’t go,” McIlroy laughed.

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