R&A CEO Martin Slumbers doubles down on rolling again golf ball

Earlier than LIV Golf burst onto the scene, the largest controversy in golf occurred to do with the golf ball itself.

Developments in gear have allowed gamers to overpower programs, which has made a whole lot of them out of date. Different programs have been pressured to broaden, requiring extra assets to take care of bigger areas.

Thus, to assist curb these modifications and to make sure gamers will not be competing on 8,000-yard-plus programs within the years to return, the R&A and the USGA—golf’s governing our bodies—have pushed for rolling again the golf ball for elite gamers.

“Unequivocally, the ball goes additional than it did 15 years in the past,” R&A CEO Martin Slumbers mentioned in an interview with Golf Digest.

“And I see no cause to doubt it won’t proceed to take action. I’ve lengthy been of this view. And for a very long time, I needed to maintain it personal. However as soon as we printed our distance report firstly of this course of, I used to be very clear that, for the nice of the sport, we have to deal with this challenge.”

R&A, USGA, The Walker Cup

R&A CEO Martin Slumbers (far left) and USGA CEO Mike Whan (second from left) attend the opening ceremony of the 2023 Walker Cup.
Picture by Ross Parker/Getty Pictures

In March 2023, the R&A and USGA unveiled a modified native rule that, if authorized, would come into impact in 2026.

Competitors organizers must require their fields to make use of golf balls examined below modified launch circumstances to deal with the impacts of hitting distance in golf. Consider limited-distance balls that some driving ranges make use of to maintain photographs inside their respective properties.

“From that standpoint and from an environmental standpoint, we’ve got to do one thing,” Slumbers continued.

“We have now been very clear, as has CEO Mike Whan on the USGA. There are solely three choices: We are able to bifurcate; you modify the entire sport; otherwise you do nothing. And doing nothing just isn’t an possibility. We stand by that.”

The time period “bifurcation” has been a elaborate phrase thrown across the golf world, and it implies that this rule would solely have an effect on elite competitions and, if adopted, wouldn’t affect leisure golf.

However skilled golfers haven’t seen this new thought too keenly. Dozens of execs have responded negatively; so has PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.

In a memo obtained by Sports activities Illustrated in late July, Monahan mentioned to PGA Tour members that golf ball rollback “just isn’t warranted and never in the most effective curiosity of the sport.’’

But, among the sport’s largest stars, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jack Nicklaus, all really feel this rule must be instituted.

“Should you’re going to do something concerning the gear, I don’t suppose you may change the scale of the heads anymore, simply because there are such a lot of on the market,” Woods mentioned at Augusta Nationwide earlier than the 2023 Masters.

Tiger Woods, The Masters

Tiger Woods hits from the bunker on the sixteenth gap throughout the first spherical of the 2023 Masters.
Picture by Andrew Redington/Getty Pictures

“However I nonetheless suppose it’s very very like baseball with aluminum bats and picket bats. You possibly can have a distinction within the golf ball. Tennis has the identical factor. You go to completely different occasions, and you’ve got completely different balls. The general public doesn’t know that, however the gamers do.”

This dialogue has been occurring for years, however Slumbers insisted {that a} determination on the golf ball would come by the top of the 2023 calendar yr.

“The sport was not pleased with the rule,” Slumbers added.

“However our duty is to the long-term way forward for the sport. Together with the USGA, the R&A is a custodian of the sport. We’re liable for our time frame, one thing that has gone on for a whole lot of years and can go on for a whole lot extra. So, we’re listening. And we’ve got decided about what we’re going to do. We’re working that by way of in the mean time and can make it public earlier than the top of the yr.”

Fortunately for on a regular basis golfers, this rule won’t have an effect on the widespread man.

However for gamers who qualify for the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and different important occasions on the PGA Tour, rolling again the golf ball will undoubtedly have an effect on them.

What do you suppose golf’s governing our bodies ought to do?

Ought to rolling again the golf ball be instituted?

Or ought to golf’s skilled circuits proceed to play any ball they please?

Tell us within the feedback under.

Jack Milko is a golf employees author for SB Nation’s Taking part in By way of. You possibly can observe him on Twitter @jack_milko for extra golf protection. Make sure to take a look at @_PlayingThrough too.

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