Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose play down golf ball distance concerns
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 09/03/18 7:35pm
Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are among the players to have played down concerns about recent data in to increased driving distances in the professional game.
The R&A and the USGA released the numbers behind their annual review in to distance data on Monday, with the latest report an increase of over three yards compared to the previous year.
Nearly 300,000 drives were considered in the data, which incorporated information from seven main professional tours worldwide and figures from the amateur game, with many questioning the distances that can be achieved with a modern-day golf ball.
Although the two governing bodies described the findings in a statement as "unusual and concerning" results, many of the PGA Tour players in action at the Valspar Championship didn't think the data was a cause for any kind of alarm.
Here's what some of the stars had to say about the findings…
"It [the increase] is tiny and they go on like the ball goes 25 yards further. It has been half a yard to a yard jump every year and last year was a little more.
"That was because we went from playing Oakmont in the US Open - where we're hitting irons and being conservative off the tee - to Erin Hill, where everyone bombs away with driver as the fairways are 80 yards wide.
"For me there's no concern. It's not the ball, it's not the equipment, it's the people that have got more athletic and have more speed.
"The guys train better, they know what they're doing more, they have Trackmans so they can figure out how to swing it fasters and be more efficient. It's not the golf balls, it's not the golf clubs, I think it's just fine the way it is."
"I'm concerned about not hitting it long enough these, but that might be on my end! I've read the report and there are obviously a lot of factors to take in there.
"We're talking fairly small distance gains year in, year out. I think the guys are younger; they are hitting it harder and are stronger than they were before. Every sport goes forward and I don't think we have a massive issue really."
"You can't be looking at those stats and thinking that the ball goes too far. The reality is that the top players in the world are really, really good and hit the ball really, really well.
"To take the game backwards is something that seems crazy to me. They [R&A and USGA] made the rules and manufacturers have obviously pushed the envelope to the very edge of the rules.
"If you look at the scores that are winning tournaments, they're not dramatically different. We're seemingly some 59s but we saw that in the 1980s too, so I don't see a problem and don't want to devolve the game.
"There are a lot of factors to this. You can't focus on one thing and just the golf ball or the driver or the player; there's a whole plethora of reasons why the golf ball is going further.
"Is the golf ball going further? Yes. Are we stronger? Yes. Is it a problem? Golf isn't getting any easier for the amateur and it isn't getting much easier for the pro.
"Are we getting make some courses obsolete by the distances we're hitting? Yes, but then again great designed golf courses don't need to be long."
"I don't believe golf courses are in jeopardy. Guys are bigger, guys are taller and guys are more athletic on average, so the one-and-a-half mile an hour club speed gain is a factor of all of those things.
"Guys are working with the technology, working with their equipment manufacturers and working to optimise their performance with driver. Ball spin, launch angle and clubhead speed are all factors being worked on more than they were never worked on before.
"The top 10 players in the world and the guys who perform exceptionally well have predominately been long hitters. You're not going to stop those guys from hitting it a long way. "
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