It appears that professional golf is pretty divided over some of the new rules introduced by the game’s governing bodies this year.
On the one hand, you have players like Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler who are unhappy with, for example, the new dropping procedure and the perceived grey area in the rule that prohibits caddies from lining up their players.
Then you have Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn and Matt Fitzpatrick. They think everybody should just get on with it and do a better job of learning – and sticking to – the new regulations.
Rory McIlroy? The four-time major champion has largely kept his counsel.
Ahead of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he is the defending champion, the Northern Irishman shared his feelings on what is, quite comfortably, the No.1 controversy in golf right now – and his stance might surprise you.
“I think that the governing bodies are a very easy target right now in the game of golf and it's very easy for people to jump on the bandwagon and sort of criticise,” said McIlroy.
“But all these entities in golf, they're not trying to do anything bad for the game. They're trying to help the game in some way. So I think we all have to give them a bit of leeway here and say, yes, they probably made some mistakes, but we all do. And I'm sure they will get it right eventually.”
McIlroy added that he has “never known a sport to be so tangled up in the rules” and believes that the simplification of them was necessary, albeit with one significant caveat.
“Maybe there should have been a grace period of three months where we'll implement these [and] get some feedback,” he said.
McIlroy gets his Arnold Palmer Invitational title defence underway at Bay Hill at 5.33pm today in the company of Marc Leishman and Patrick Reed.