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19th Hole

‘It happens in every single sport’ – Jon Rahm weighs in on golf’s distance debate with interesting take



The distance debate in golf has been rumbling on for years, and now one of the most dominant players in the sport has had his say.

According to Jon Rahm, players getting bigger and stronger has been the most important factor when it comes to the steady increase in driving distance on the PGA Tour.

While speaking on the Fore Play Podcast, “Rahmbo” gave his thoughts on the debate in golf: have we gone too far with distance?

“Technology is just a little bit better. I get it, but overall, we’re all better athletes. It happens in every single sport. There’s actually a tech talk about how much better athletes are nowadays for the most part, but then technology is allowing for these things.

“They said, if Jesse Owens and Usain Bolt on their records would have run together, the difference would have been minimal, minimal right, and that was in 1936. So compared to user involvement in 2009 I mean, just think about (American) football players, it’s the same thing. Basketball hasn’t changed since the 80s, so it’s going to happen to every sport. Tennis, you watch McEnroe to how they’re playing Wimbledon. It’s a completely different sport.”

“Now, in our case, I think what they’re doing, which is trying to stretch golf courses, is only going to feed into people hitting it longer, period. It’s getting to a point where if you have long rough and 520 yard par 4s, you’re going to need to hit it 340 because otherwise you’re not going to get to the green in any other way.

“So they’re feeding it into us that we are needing to hit it longer. And I think it hinders the game when they try to roll back the ball and change things, with the technology of the clubs. We’re going to get to a point where I will be the smallest on Tour. You’re gonna get people who are six-foot-five, JJ Watt looking people, who are going to be hitting it 380 down the centre, like it’s eventually going to get to something like that.”

Eddie Pepperell and Padraig Harrington weighed in on Rahm’s comments via Twitter.

Whether or not you agree with Rahm, the distance debate doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon.

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  1. The Mad Bomber

    Feb 16, 2023 at 3:58 pm

    Worst take ever. Theres a bunker at my childhood course that I used to struggle to carry with a driver. This is when I was 19, in unreal shape and had aspirations of playing pro hockey, swinging it way faster than I do now at almost 44. Last year I didn’t even think about that bunker as I sailed over it with a 3 wood. Equipment is 99% of the distance gains in golf. Sorry, if you think it’s anything else but equipment and a bit of agronomy, you’re just wrong.

  2. E

    Feb 7, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Leave the equipment alone. Make the courses harder. Tighten fairways, higher rough, also softer fairways, add more traps. If there is water like at Pete Dye type courses, cut the fairways all the way to the edge of the water, no rough. And don’t let them take off their clothes. Change the rules so that clothes must be kept on at all times, including shoes.

  3. Serg Garcia

    Feb 6, 2023 at 10:30 pm

    I listened to this podcast for the first time. It was awful and the guys that run it are hacks. Garbage.

  4. Mel

    Feb 6, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Let’s just say everyone finally agrees and they “figure it out.” Suddenly no one is hitting it 300+ yards anymore. Average drives are 250ish. Does some of the fun go away?

    Bombs away! It’s in our DNA. It’s OMG, chest puffing brilliance. Two guys in the fairway 290 from the tee? “Eh, ho-hum.” The guy who smashed it 340 and is just 70 yards away? (Even if in the rough.) “Geez Louise!”

    IMO, the big scary question for the PGA Tour, the R&A, the equipment manufacturers, the USGA, etc. is, can the fans learn to love shot shaping, course management, penalty avoidance and out-thinking opponents? Hey, maybe they can. Maybe they should. And for the “save the earth crowd” maybe they will. I don’t know.

    And maybe all we fans really want are winners and personalities … hmmmm.

  5. Karsten's Ghost

    Feb 6, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    The course in the UAE was a great example of how to defeat long hitters. It wasn’t stupidly long, but there were more duffed chips than I’ve ever seen in a week. It’s not about just length – Rahm’s point is very valid. If you change the setup so only long hitters survive, you get… long hitters. Harrington’s point is also valid; saving older courses and lowering operating costs are very important.

    Maybe it’s too easy for those long hitters on their second shots? Or to up & down? Maybe the penal rough should be post-300? Maybe it’s far more course-dependent while everyone searches for a simpler answer? I’ll keep banging on about it — make a maximum compression of 65. Then you get the best of all worlds.

  6. gdb99

    Feb 6, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    I have the cheapest suggestion for the distance debate. No changing golf balls, no changing equipment. It brings back the glory of old courses. No need to add length to golf courses. Raise the fairway mower deck by 1/8”. Want to go crazy? 3/16”.

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19th Hole

‘You’re a f*****g traffic cone!’ – Brooks Koepka heckles Aaron Ekblad at Florida Panthers game



Brooks Koepka is preparing to play in this week’s LIV event in Orlando. While in Florida, the four-time major champion attended a Florida Panthers game.

At the game, Koepka was seen taunting Aaron Ekblad, who was the first overall pick in the draft in 2014, with a traffic cone.

Brooks can be seen in the video yelling, “Ekblad you suck” as well as calling him a “traffic cone” with the prop in hand.

So far this season, Koepka has finished 31st at LIV Mayakoba and 29th at LIV Tucson. He’ll be teeing it up at The Masters next week in search of his 5th major championship.

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19th Hole

‘Never mind the Masters’ – Gary Player explains why he ranks the Masters dead last of all the majors



In an interview with Sportsmail, Gary Player spoke about which major championship he believes is the best among them. The 87-year-old won nine major championships, including the Masters three times and The Open Championship three times.

“But never mind the Masters, the Open is by far the greatest tournament on the planet.”

Interestingly, Player ranked the Masters fourth of the four majors.

“I rate the Open at one, the US Open two, PGA three and Augusta four,’ he adds. Four marvelous tournaments.”

When asked why he ranked the Masters after the other three, Player said it was because the others have been around longer.

“It’s the youngest of the majors. The others are steeped in tradition and history, and they still have to catch up. Nothing comes to the top without time.”

Speaking of The Masters, Player also spoke about Rory McIlroy’s quest for the career grand slam, of which he’s still one green jacket short. Player believes McIlroy will win and needs to do so sooner rather than later to cement his spot amongst the greatest players of all time.

‘He’s got the best swing in the world by a mile,’ Player says. ‘He’s won four majors but none since 2014. I think he will win the Masters because the course is made for him. I think if he does that, he’ll go down as one of the greats, but that’s something he has to do.

“I’ve always said my judgment of superstars is they have to win six majors. People these days say anyone who wins is a superstar. No. It’s not easily done, but I believe Rory can.”

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19th Hole

Golf legend says this was the biggest mistake of Tiger’s career



At one stage in his career, it looked as if Tiger Woods becoming the record major holder was a formality, but for whatever factors that never materialised.

In an interview with Sportsmail, Gary Player spoke about Tiger Woods and his quest to break Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record, and has his own view on why Tiger never surpassed Jack’s record.

Player, who won nine major championships himself, said that he believes Ben Hogan was the “greatest” golfer he’d ever seen, but Tiger Woods was the most talented.

‘The greatest I ever saw was Ben Hogan,’ he says. ‘He went to war for five years and then had a terrible car accident, so never played in 30 majors. Nobody had a streak like he had (winning his nine majors in the space of 16 starts). If I was a young boy today, I’d watch his swing from 1953 every day.”

‘Tiger Woods was the most talented golfer the planet has ever seen but he made a few bad decisions, which we all do.”

“Having lessons when he won the US Open by 15 shots was inconceivable — if he never went for a lesson, he would have won 20 majors minimum and he would have beat Nicklaus’s record.”

Player is referencing the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which Woods won by 15 shots. Just two years later, Tiger completely renovated his golf swing, which in retrospect looks as if it may have been a mistake.

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