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USGA Distance Report: Jimmy Walker, Lucas Glover sound off

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We heard what the USGA had to say about distance in the game on Monday. Most significantly with respect to the pro game, the governing body stated, “any further significant increases in hitting distances at the highest level are undesirable,” while pledging further review.

Largely skeptical responses from the PGA Tour, the PGA of America, and Titleist followed soon thereafter.
Now, some players are keen to do anything but roll back the ball of incredulity, instead, (to mix ball metaphors), Jimmy Walker and Lucas Glover are running with the ball.

Walker, in an Instagram post Tuesday, suggested the USGA’s data doesn’t paint the full picture.
His, which also references Rule 14-1b, reads in part

“Too many variables in an outdoor sport to grasp what is actually happening,” Walker said. “What I do know is the USGA does not have their fingers on the pulse of the game. Taking away a putter that helps many many people enjoy the game is wrong. Rolling back the golf ball 20 percent is another bad idea. Ask the normal golfer how much they would enjoy the game if they flew it 20 percent shorter. I’m asking. Would you enjoy that? Changing golf for the masses because a small few who play it a different level is wrong. The greats and USGA have it wrong.”

Walker was joined by a fellow major winner, Lucas Glover, in voicing his disapproval. Glover tweeted

The plot thickens, and the debate continues. Expect to hear plenty more responses to the USGA’s report with player interviews at the Valspar Championship beginning today.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. John

    Mar 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Jimmy Walker hit the nail on the head. I agree completely & have stated the same thing myself. You can’t punish 99% of the golfers because a small minority hit the long ball.

    • bill

      Mar 11, 2018 at 4:40 am

      jIMMY missed the point. USGA is proposing to regulate the ball used by tours, not the balls used by everyday players. Older courses are running out of real estate to lengthen courses to accommodate driving distances by tour level club head speeds

  2. blake

    Mar 9, 2018 at 9:25 am

    i will play golf even less if they do this. F the usga.

    • Glenn D

      Mar 10, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      This shows how ignorant some people can be. I don’t think the everyday playerscourses are being lengthened to accommodate them. It’s mainly for the pros. The answer isn’t 8,000 yd courses….. cost to maintain and slower play will be the result.

  3. GolfGui

    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Yes, the way these guys train and the level of athlete has changed through the years. It is also true there’s Trackman and 3D analysis. These things can’t be stopped. It’s not a legit argument to change anything. What can be changed, probably tomorrow if need be, is the ball. Change the compression, the aerodynamics and the ball doesn’t fly as far. Many Tour guys against rollback try to make an argument that the amateur would be hurt most by this, but no one is calling for a throttled back ball for amateurs, just Tour guys, so that’s not a good argument. Nor is it a good argument to say the USGA allowed it in the first place, so they don’t have a right to correct their mistakes (cough cough Lucas Glover). Also, the idea of tightening fairways goes against the very nature of the game, which is strategy and angles. I know Jimmy Walker says he hits his 8i the same distance he did when he was 24… Fine, the problem is that 8i you’re hitting is into a Par 5, which when you were 24, that same hole you probably were hitting a 5i or more. The way I understand the science behind the modern ball, the faster one swings, the more one gains from the longer clubs… And by a lot. But when players get to the shorter irons / Wedges the modern ball doesn’t react much differently than balls from 10/15 yrs ago. To me that completely sounds like a compression / aerodynamic issue in regards to the ball. Throttle the ball back 10% (10% off an average Tour Drive) for Tour guys and be done with it. They still will be the best players in the world and courses all over the planet will remain relevant without needing major reconstruction.

    • DougQ

      Mar 8, 2018 at 11:18 am

      I get what your saying but it’s not the ball. Each ball it hit with the iron byron and can’t go further then the distance cap of 02′. Also guys could hit the ball further but going to less spin, but the mid 2500 is sweet spot for distance and accuracy which they figure out long ago. Use 1000 spin and your accuracy is like long drivers.
      So what do you do get a ball that goes less and less distance every few years to make up for the increases athleticism. Guys will keep getting taller and fitter as it’s an advantage.
      Making a shorter hitting ball will only absolute the short hitters like Kuchar type.

      At the end of the day golf is a game and which the least strokes wins, who cares the par of the distance, it’s just ideology stuff. It’s still easier to make a par on a 525 yard par 4 then to birdie the same hole as a 530 yard par 5.

      • Daniel

        Mar 11, 2018 at 5:10 am

        Its easier to make 4 on a 525 yard hole than to make 4 on a 530 yard hole… ummm doubt 5 yards makes that big of a distance.. kind of a stupid comment

  4. TheOtherPhilM

    Mar 7, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    The lack of logic in the responses to a proposed ball wind back from the pga and pros like Walker/ Glover is staggering. Plenty of reports show that amateurs are not reaping the benefits of new equipment and balls like the pros are. It will not make much difference to amateurs if the ball is wound back. What is bad for golf is the increasing gap between pros and amateurs and the costs of increasing ball distances. Talk of bigger stronger players as the cause of distance gains rather than equipment is also nonsense, the fact that Champions tour players are hitting 20% further in their sixties compared to their 30s tells the real story no one should hit further when they are 30 years older in the normal course of events.

    • UNMgolf

      Mar 7, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      you’re probably old. old people think this way.

    • BD57

      Mar 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm

      What’s “nonsense” is the “get off my lawn” response of people such as yourself.

      From what I’ve heard, when comparing “apples to apples” – that would be driving distances in 2016 vs. 2017 at events contested on the SAME COURSE BOTH YEARS – and there’s practically no difference whatsoever.

      Apparently, the driving distances at Augusta in 2017 were little different than 2016 as well, but the distances at the US Open, British Open & PGA were longer in 2017 than 2016, with the US Open being significantly so, and accounting for the lion’s share of the “huge jump.”

      The typical tour pro in the 70’s wasn’t the size of Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, etc., they certainly didn’t have the benefit of multi-material clubheads, graphite shafts and so on, and they didn’t train the way the guys train now. The notion that “It’s just the ball” – THAT is a “lack of logic.”

      As is the idea that somehow, manufacturing a ball which steals distance from the most expert players will leave the rest of us alone, that it “won’t make much difference.” Steal 20% of the total distance . . . . you turn a good amateur’s 250 yard drive into a 200 yard “bomb,” his 6,500 yard course into a 5,200 yard “monster.” When the typical am takes a mighty swipe and can’t hit the ball out of his shadow – golf is going to become a far less attractive game for a lot of people than it is now.

      This notion that we have to make the game less enjoyable for MILLIONS because, somehow, we’re having a problem maintaining “Old Man Par” as a standard for he best players in the world on the 100 golf courses in the world where they play . . . . how shortsighted.

      How foolish.

  5. DeezNutz

    Mar 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Just grow the rough out.
    Pebble is a short course.
    guys light it up in Pro-Am because it set up for Bill Murray.
    During the US Opens there you can win with Par.

  6. MVB

    Mar 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    USGA put a distance cap on balls and equipment in 2002 or 03.
    There is a sport science show on ESPN where Rory hit a persimmon with an old balata and he loses like 15 yards.

    Its just old dudes that don’t understand science and body physics.
    Now golfers are athletes, taller bigger and train specifically for golf.

    I think the distance cap on equipment was good, it can’t increase.

    What they gonna say when some Anthony Davis looking guy makes it to the PGA.
    You’re too tall create too much leverage we’re gonna give you a different ball?

  7. dat

    Mar 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Mark Crossfield had a great video the other day on this. The two data collection periods were not even close to one another for this YOY comparison. One was primarily on wet, shorter, narrower course. The other was on firm, long and more open courses. Gee, I wonder why there was a 17 yard increase? Must be the golf ball!

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19th Hole

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 2. Old Tom Morris Links, Donegal

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part One of our Exploring Ireland series, we focused on County Wicklow and showcased Woodbrook Golf Club. Now it’s time for Part Two, and we’re taking a trip to the far northwest corner of the island, and into County Donegal.

While it may not be the most accessible destination, Donegal is an absolute must for anyone traveling to Ireland. Voted number one on The National Geographic Traveler’s ‘cool list’ for 2017, Donegal is like no place you’ve ever seen. Full of breathtaking beaches, incredible walking trails, cosy pubs and of course, excellent golf courses, you’re guaranteed to have a great time here.

Old Tom Morris Links, Donegal

@Rosapenna1893

My pick for the top golf course to visit in the county is the Old Tom Morris Links, situated within the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort.

In 1891, while a guest of Lord Leitrim, Old Tom Morris of St. Andrews decided to visit Donegal, and in typical Tom Morris fashion, he believed that it was the ideal location to build a championship course. What Morris created was a course with wide rolling fairways and magnificent greens that have stood the test of time.

@Rosapenna1893

The course was renovated twice before a new Strand Nine opened in 2009 which now plays as the front nine of the Old Tom Morris Links. The addition gives the course a wonderful mix of a traditional and modern links feel.

The challenging course plays over 6,900 yards from the back tees, and only offers up the relief of three par-fives. The challenge can also become even more daunting should the wind blow, and being situated along “The Wild Atlantic Way,” you should expect nothing less.

@EIGTravel

While you will no doubt enjoy the stern test and the natural feel of the golf course, visitors will have even more to look forward to should they take the trip here. The course runs along Tramore beach overlooking Sheephaven Bay and offers up sensational views no matter what hole you are on during your round.

The rates to play 18 holes at the Old Tom Morris Links begin at $40 in winter, and $60 during the summer months.

Food & Drink – The Olde Glen Bar, Carrigart

@oldeglenbar

A 10-minute drive from the course will take you to The Olde Glen Bar a few minutes from Carrigart, which Ulster’s very own Hollywood star and golf fan Jamie Dornan (The Fall, 50 Shades of Grey) called the “best bar in the world.”

The bar first opened in 1768, making it one of the oldest bars in Donegal. The Olde Glen Bar has kept its very traditional feel, and when you get there, you will feel like you’ve been transported back in time. Wooden floors, big open-lit fires, low ceilings and door frames add to the charm of this little bar where there is always something going on.

@oldeglenbar

There is live traditional music playing in the bar every weekend, and along with the music, The Olde Glen Bar boasts an excellent craft beer, whiskey and gin selection. The bar prides itself on its Kinnegar beer, brewed just up the road, and it’s well worth a try if Guinness isn’t your thing.

The bar also features a highly acclaimed restaurant, offering up dishes such as seatrout, venison, supreme of chicken and plenty of other delights.

@oldeglenbar

Where To Stay

The obvious choice is the Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort itself. This luxury establishment will cater to all your needs and is the ideal place to stay when in the area if you have the money to splash out. A classic double room will set you back around $200 a night, or you can go for the stay and play option which provides you with two nights bed, and breakfast along with a round of golf at both the Old Tom Morris and the Sandy Hills Links for around $300 per person.

If you’re looking for somewhere less expensive or more traditional, then there are plenty of cottages in the area that will add even more character to your adventure. Here’s what you can expect should you wish to stay in an Irish cottage in the area, and it will give you a feel for true Irish life out on the Atlantic Ocean.

@ShivonSoap

Donegal has lots to offer should you manage to pull yourself away from the course or the bar. Fishing, walking trails, surfing and scuba diving are all favorite activities to do while visiting Donegal. One must visit, however, is Glenveagh National Park, which is a nature reserve with beautiful scenery of mountains, lakes and woodlands. The highlight of the park though has to be Glenveagh Castle, built in 1870.

How To Get There

The lack of quality public transport in the area makes it a little trickier than other spots to get to, but if you’re driving, then there’s no issue at all. The Old Tom Morris Links is a 3 hrs 30mins drive from Dublin City Centre, 4hrs 10mins from Galway City Centre, and 1hr 15mins from Derry City Centre. If you happen to be flying into Donegal Airport, then it will take you around an hour to get to the area.

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19th Hole

Tweets of the Week: Best golf posts from Twitter over the last week

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Jon Rahm triumphed in the Bahamas, Cameron Smith got the job done down under, and Kurt Kitayama was victorious in Mauritius, but there were plenty more talking points in the golfing world over the past week. Here’s a look at some things you may have missed, and some of the quirkier moments from the world of golf dished out in the Twittersphere.

Rose and Stenson’s Wardrobe Mishap

They proved how well they could perform together when they excelled at Le Golf National in September, but the European pair may have been a little too in sync on the opening day of the Hero World Challenge…

Focus like Chikkarangappa

Chikkarangappa lost his cool on the 16th hole in Mauritius over the weekend, but the Indian showed that it would take more than a ridiculously loud phone going off on his downswing to put him off his stride.

Tiger Fever

It’s reassuring to know that it isn’t just us humans who are obsessed with the 14-time major champ.

Dustin’s Stats

Another decent season for DJ then…

Tommy Fleetwood’s Perfect Solution

Controversy surrounded the result of the mega boxing match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder over the weekend. The consensus was that Fury had won the fight, but when the contest was declared a draw, golfs very own Tommy Fleetwood came up with the only reasonable solution to decide the winner.

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Patrick Reed hasn’t spoken to Spieth since the Ryder Cup, tells media: “He has my number”

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If you thought that the messy Ryder Cup fallout involving Patrick Reed was a thing of the past, then think again. Ahead of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Reed revealed that neither he nor Jordan Spieth had reached out to each other since the biennial event to clear the air after their relationship appeared to break down at Le Golf National.

When asked to comment on the matter, Reed put the ball firmly in Spieth’s court, stating: “He has my number,” according to the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro.

Reed’s issue with Spieth arose in the aftermath of the 2018 Ryder Cup after reports emerged that Spieth no longer wanted to partner Reed in the four-ball or foursomes format. Reed, as well as his wife and mother in law, criticized Spieth following the U.S. teams defeat in Paris, and now Reed has stated how changes to the usual pairings to appease one or two individuals on the side was detrimental to the U.S. team.

“You had to look at the breakdown of all the guys on the team and what was best for the entire team, not just one or two individuals. So you split up Jordan and I, right? Then you split up Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who have played great golf together … groupings that had been proven successful in that format. So it was about the team, not one or two individuals.’’

The 28-year-old was criticized heavily for his comments after the event in Paris, where he took shots at both Spieth and captain Jim Furyk. However, Reed believes that the condemnation he received was un-justified, claiming that when Phil Mickelson did similar back in 2014, he received plaudits, before Reed suggested that he is not given a fair shake from the media.

“He did it and got praised. I did it and got destroyed. It all depends on who the person is, obviously.’’

Reed wasn’t done taking a swipe at the media either and claimed that his relationship with Spieth is absolutely fine and that it is the press that has created the perceived friction between the two men, saying: “I have nothing against Jordan, nothing against him at all. That is done by the media, that’s not done by how he or I feel.’’

I think it’s fair to say that we’d all like to hear from Spieth on that one.

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