Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Rory McIlroy Wants Faster Golf

The world number one golfer, Rory McIlroy, has called for a faster version of golf in a bid to attract young players to the sport.

Sport England figures show that the number of 16-25-year-olds playing the game regularly almost halved between 2009-10 and 2012-13.

"Everything's so instant now and everyone doesn't have as much time as they used to," world number one McIlroy told BBC Radio 4.

"So you maybe try some way of speeding the game up."

Northern Ireland's McIlroy, who won the Open and the US PGA in 2014, added: "The viewership in golf is up but the participation is down.

"People enjoy watching the game but gone are the days that you could spend five or six hours on a golf course."

Golf's authorities have been reluctant to bring in changes in the past, with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews only agreeing to admit women to its membership in September.

But McIlroy believes the sport's rulemakers are ready for new initiatives.

"I don't think they'd be against it, especially if they wanted to get participation levels up," said McIlroy, who finished second to Lewis Hamilton in the voting for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

"I don't think they need to alter tournament-play formats, I think that works very well. It's the grass roots... definitely not at our level."

McIlroy, who famously appeared on television to chip golf balls into a washing machine at the age of nine, wants young people to follow his example and take up the sport early in life.

"I feel as though I've inspired a lot of kids back home in Northern Ireland to pick up the game and play," he said.

"Hopefully I can continue to do that beyond Northern Ireland because it's a great game. It's given me a lot and I've loved every minute of it and I know if more people pick up the game they'll love it, too."

People playing golf once a week, every week, in England

Year14-25 year olds16-25 year oldsAll ages (16+)

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