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Pro golfers won't be using distance-measuring devices anytime soon

February 07, 2014

If you're among those who cringed hearing both the USGA and R&A will allow distance-measuring devices in amateur competitions, there is some solace emerging from these announcements: Leaders of the elite professional game, it seems, have no intention of joining the DMD parade.

Indeed, the R&A and USGA made plain publicly in their respective announcements that their open championships would not allow use of the devices, and have echoed privately that they have no intention of doing so in the near future.

The PGA of America's Board of Directors announced last year that DMDs would be OK for several events, including the PGA Winter Championships, the PGA Tournament Series, section championships, the Junior PGA Championship and Junior Ryder Cup and the Playing Ability Test. Similarly to the R&A and USGA, however, it stopped short of allowed them in any of the PGA of America's major national events, most notably the PGA Championship.

"The main reasons are that at our spectator championships and national PGA member championships," said Kerry Haigh, PGA of America chief championship officer, "the competitors are able to have one or more practice rounds at the course and also have caddies whose job in many cases is to able to calculate yardages and distances, whereas at the vast majority of our events players are seeing the course in many cases for the first time and do not have caddies."

Additionally, Haigh noted: "Also, with the major tours throughout the world not allowing their use, it would create some issues with the top players if we started to use them at some events but not at others."

Indeed, the most important voice (arguably) of all on this matter, the PGA Tour, continues to be steadfast about not allowing DMDs for its events.

"This remains in full effect, and we are not contemplating a change," said Andy Pazder, executive vice president and chief of operations. The concern seems to be that DMDs would reflect poorly on the tour's image and, contrary to the thinking of some, would not help pace of play.