During Sunday's AmEx WGC telecast from Harding Park, Mike Tirico was surprised when colleagues Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger said they were in favor of using distance measuring devices on the Tour. Faldo noted that he was curious if they would speed up play and liked the idea of not having to play practice rounds, while Azinger said he doesn't know how to play without his device when golfing at home.
So let's say they make them legal for Tour play. And the players are tackling a course like Harding Park, where the greens are relatively firm. The players thus are not that just interested in the distance to the flagstick.
Yes, they want to know it, but yardages to the front of the green, left or right of the hole, over a bunker, etc... are just as important in the process of determining what shot to play if the ground is at all firm.
Anyone who has used a binocular style rangefinder knows that they are not reliable enough to gauge distances over bunkers or to specific areas of turf.
So if the ground is at all firm, the caddy will still use a yardage book to provide the player with the yardages to the front, over hazards and to areas away from the flagstick.
How does that speed up play on the PGA Tour?