R&A issue WARNING to Bryson DeChambeau's monster drives

R&A's Martin Slumbers tells Sportsmail there is a "need to get this balance of skill and technology right."

Andy Roberts's picture
Mon, 13 Jul 2020

R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has sent a warning to Bryson DeChambeau and the rest of the PGA Tour's biggest hitters by telling Sportsmail that it will be "coming back to the issue [of driving distance] in great seriousness" in the not too distant future. 

Slumbers revealed he has been "fascinated by" DeChambeau's recent body transformation and added distance of the tee since golf's return on the PGA Tour with the 'Mad Scientist' now averaging a whopping 350 yards off the tee as it stands. 

"It's a topic I feel very strongly about," Slumbers told Sportsmail.

"It's our responsibility, as a governing body, to have a view on the broad implications of your question.

"We published our report, along with the USGA, in February, and it said we needed to put a line in the sand and come back – because we think it's gone too far.

"My view is very much that golf is a game of skill. It's important to have a balance of skill and technology.

"We did intend to publish the next stage in March, sending out to manufacturers our specific areas of interest.

"Specific topics we wanted to evaluate before considering what equipment changes we would - or would not - put in place.

"It's all been put on hold because the world has a lot more to worry about. And we were conscious of the golf industry having the time to recover.

"But we will bring that topic back – because it does need to be discussed."

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Golf's governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, issued a joint 'Distance Insights Report' several months ago that claimed that the distance gains being achieved by the biggest hitters in golf were proving "detrimental to the game."

Given the circumstances in the world right now with coronavirus, and the golf industry doing its best to recover from the financial hit it has taken, Slumbers claims the joint project will soon release major changes to put a halt to such distance gains on the pro circuit. 

"Bryson, I'm fascinated by," said Slumbers. 

"I'm not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape.

"I can't think of anyone. I'm thinking of some boxers because I love boxing, but what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn't the first one to put on muscle in golf.

"How he's able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he's a true athlete.

"But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right.

"Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn't going to be tomorrow, because we don't know what's going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness.

"It is too simple just to say change the ball. Way too simple. You can do things with the ball.

"But it's the relationship between ball and club which is most important, to me.

"The fundamental change in the golf ball since 1999-2000, with the introduction of ProV1 technology, is the ball spins less, and drivers have been designed so it spins even less, which makes it go further."

 

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