Change the golf ball, or prepare to change the golf course. This is the argument presented by Tiger Woods, who is undertaking his most recent comeback from back surgery. Without adjustments, Tiger believes PGA Tour events will all need to be played on courses close to 8,000 yards.
In an interview with UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma, Tiger described the need to rollback the ball. “We need to do something about the golf ball. I just think it’s going too far, because we’re having to build golf courses, if they want to have a championship venue, they’ve got to be 7,400 to 7,800 yards long.”
Woods said that he is amazed at how far he has been able to hit the ball during his preparation for a return to PGA Tour events. “I can’t believe how far I’m hitting the golf ball,” said Woods. “I’m back to hitting it my full numbers and not really trying to do that. I didn’t realize how much I had dropped off because of the pain in my back and from me going at it and hitting it normal just because I just lived it from day to day and I really couldn’t tell the difference. But now I can tell the difference.”
Making Progress pic.twitter.com/I3MZhJ74kI
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 15, 2017
Woods Not Alone
Woods is not the first prominent figure to enter the debate on embracing a shorter-flying ball. Jack Nicklaus has called for designing balls that fit courses, rather than the other way around. This past March, USGA executive director Mike Davis brought up the concept of having “variable distance” golf balls. The discussion stems from the advancement of technology in golf equipment that has made many classic courses obsolete.
“Throw Dustin [Johnson] an 80 percent golf ball and say, ‘Let’s go play the back tees,’ and guess what, it would be a great experience for him,” said Davis. “He’d be able to play this wonderful, historic golf course that, by and large, he can’t play anymore.”
What are your thoughts on rolling back the golf ball? Should the modern technology used in the sport be adjusted to the playing field?