Authorities set to take action over distance issue


Cape Town – R&A chief Martin Slumbers has confirmed that golf’s governing bodies are set to address the game’s ongoing distance issue.

Last week, USGA chief executive officer Mike Davis hinted action
could soon be taken over the incredible distance the top players are
able to hit the ball, and his opposite number at the R&A has now
confirmed that “serious discussions” will soon take place.

The two bodies are set to publish a joint report in the coming month,
outlining their concerns and sharing data they believe makes the
argument for taking action.

“There has been significant move up across all tours,” Slumbers said.

“We’re also looking at the longest on record average driving distance
and both of those have caused us, as well as our colleagues at the USGA,
serious concern.

“We had talked for a number of years about slow creep, and this is a
little bit more than slow creep. It’s actually quite a big jump. Our
2002 joint statement of principles put a line in the sand, or purported
to put a line in the sand.

“I think our view is when you start to look at this data now that we
have probably crossed that line in the sand and that a serious
discussion is now needed on where we go.”

The likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player have all
expressed their support for limiting the distance a ball can travel.

“We’ll be publishing the distance report within the next month and
there is a statement in there from the USGA and the R&A on the data
that’s contained within it,” Slumbers added.

“I think there are many, many options available. There’s a lot of
work still to be done with a lot of people, and engaging with not just
the game but the equipment manufacturers and all sorts of things, but
that work we now feel needs to be done.

“I’m hoping that we have a constructive conversation with all
stakeholders for the good of the game. What do we want to do? We want
the game to expand. We want more people to play. We want to see it as a
skillful game. I think we will all work and talk around this whole
distance issue.”

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