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Will distance-measuring devices speed up play? Justin Thomas says no

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Slow play is always a worthy adversary and the PGA of America’s decision to allow distance-measuring devices at this month’s PGA Championship is the most recent attempt to address five-plus-hour rounds. But it’s not going to work.

At least that’s what 2017 PGA champion Justin Thomas said Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I don't really like them. I think it takes away an advantage of having a good caddie that maybe goes out there and does the work beforehand as opposed to someone, especially now between the yardage books, the greens books and range finders, you technically don't even really need to see the place or play a practice round,” Thomas said.

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The decision to allow distance-measuring devices at the PGA Championship as well as the Senior PGA Championship and KPMG Women’s PGA was explained by PGA president Jim Richerson, “We’re always interested in methods that may help improve the flow of play during our championships.”

Thomas said the addition of distance-measuring devices could actually make rounds longer at this year’s PGA Championship.

“Kiawah Island isn't some kind of course where the greens are going to be really soft and you just see pin, hit pin. It's going to be, OK, I have 193 [yards] hole, we have 174 front, I need to probably land this probably 180 to 182, a little wind off this way,” he said. “You're still going to need to get all that information, but then it's just going to add another element that's going to add time to the rounds in terms of shooting it with the range finder.”