LONDON (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy has urged golf's rule-makers to quicken the game up at grass-roots level in order to make it more attractive to youngsters.
More people are watching the sport on television these days but fewer are taking to the fairways and the 25-year-old Northern Irishman believes something needs to be done to reverse the trend.
"Everything's so instant now and everyone doesn't have as much time as they used to so you maybe try some way of speeding the game up," McIlroy told BBC radio. "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."
The four-time Major champion says officials at the top of the sport would be willing to make changes if they were of benefit. "I don't think they'd be against it especially if they wanted to get participation levels up," explained McIlroy.
"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.
"I feel as though I've inspired a lot of kids back home in Northern Ireland to pick up the game and play," said McIlroy who won the British Open at Hoylake in July and the U.S. PGA Championship in Kentucky in August.
"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."