Fear and loathing in the caddie lounge as rangefinders threaten to transform major golf

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May 8, 2002
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Terrifying laser-guided machines are advancing on to the fairways this week and the mortals are desperately mobilising. Who will prevail in this fight to the death and which side will golfing cyborg Bryson DeChambeau be on? It is easy to dive deep into hyperbole as the 103rd US PGA Championship at the Ocean Course becomes the first big-time professional tournament to permit distance-measuring devices, but there is no mistaking the sense of unease in the caddies' lounge as Thursday’s first round approaches. That much has been obvious since the PGA of America announced in February that it would allow rangefinders - during actual rounds, as well as on practice days when they are now standard - so becoming the first major body in the sport to do so. The reason? To speed up play. Though the Rules of Golf have given the lasers the green light to be utilised since 2006, a local rule was also invoked which gave organisers the right to ban the gadgets. And everyone has - the main Tours, all the majors, the Olympics and the Ryder Cup. Until now. One small step for man. One 185.25-yard step for mankind. The caddies are not seeing the funny side. When contacted by Telegraph Sport, Billy Foster, the much-loved looper for Severiano Ballesteros, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, and now Matt Fitzpatrick, waved away the subject. “Waste of time, not interested,” he replied. Mark Fulcher, Francesco Molinari’s caddie, sounded similarly indifferent. “Let’s see if it does speed up play, eh?” he said. The theory is that with more information at their disposal, the pros this week will be slower, not quicker, to decide on their shots. And the hope is that when it is realised that rounds are taking even longer, the rangefinders will be exterminated almost as soon as they emerged. Yet the alarm on the official websites tell a different story. The Caddie Network, which represents the PGA Tour Caddie Association, pointed Telegraph Sport to an article it has posted with a range of views from its members, the majority of which are negative.

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