PGA Tour to trial use of rangefinders
• PGA Tour to trial use of rangefinders on its minor tours
• DMDs to be allowed at select tournaments on Web.com Tour
• Will it speed up play? Players and caddies are skeptical
The PGA Tour has announced that it will begin testing the use of distance measuring devices (DMDs) during competition at select tournaments this year on the Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.
Each tour will allow use of the devices by players and caddies at four consecutive tournaments, including Monday qualifiers.
For these events, the PGA Tour will temporarily enact a Local Rule in accordance with Decision 14-3/0.5 of The R&A/USGA Rules of Golf, which stipulates the device can be used to measure distance only (use of functions to measure slope, elevation or wind will not be allowed).
The Web.com Tour tournaments are the BMW Charity Pro Am (May 18-21), the Rex Hospital Open (June 1-4), the Rust-Oleum Championship (June 8-11) and the Air Capital Classic (June 15-18), while it will also features four events each on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and Mackenzie Tour.
“For years there has been significant discussion and debate about whether distance measuring devices would have a positive or negative impact on competition at the highest levels of professional golf,” said Andy Pazder, chief tournaments and competitions officer of the PGA Tour.
“The only way we can accurately assess their impact is to conduct an actual test during official competition on one or more of our tours.
“We look forward to seeing how these tests go” – Andy Pazder
“We look forward to seeing how these tests go and carefully evaluating the use of the devices over those weeks. Our evaluation will consider the impact on pace of play, optics and any other effects they might have on the competition.”
As you can imagine, the issue prompted quite the debate on social media as to whether the use of rangefinders would speed of pace of play.
Craig Connelly, caddie to Martin Kaymer, was skeptical.
Mostly every caddie and player(me included) would double check with yardage book once I've shot pin. https://t.co/NFRarspPzB
— Craig Connelly (@theweeman77) March 28, 2017
To which Rickie Fowler agreed.
@theweeman77 exactly…going through our normal routine then shoot the pin to make sure it's in the spot we think it is on the green
— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowler) March 28, 2017
Then it came to the age-old stroke penalties for slow play debate, to which Connelly and 2018 Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn had conflicting opinions on.
Connelly believes the standard should be reinforced at grassroots level, while Bjorn says it’s up to the tours and its players to set the example.
— Thomas Bjørn (@thomasbjorngolf) March 28, 2017
Should rangefinders be allowed?
What do you make of the news that rangefinders are going to be put on trial on some of the PGA Tour’s minor tours in 2017? Let us know in the ‘Comments’ section below.