In the mind associated with Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley, the crux of golf’ ersus current distance issue comes down to the particular 13th hole.
“ There’ s a great quotation from Bobby Jones dealing particularly with the 13th hole, ” Ridley said. “ He said that your decision to go for the green in 2 should be a momentous one. I would say that our observations of these great gamers hitting middle and even short golf irons into that hole is not the momentous decision. And so we think it has an issue not only there, but in the overall game, that needs to be addressed. ”
His comments from their pre-tournament press conference, while not particular and often trending toward diplomacy, appear to suggest that architectural changes to the opening may not be the definitive answer.
“ Bobby Jones was intent on keeping the particular golf course in step with the continuous developments in the game, ” Ridley mentioned in his opening comments. “ Therefore considerate incremental improvements have taken location over the years because we remain devoted to protecting the shot values Mister. Jones and Alastair Mackenzie invented. To that end, we continue to carefully monitor how distances produced by today’ s players affect our course. Thankfully, we do have options, and additional change may come after proper deliberation.
“ Yet we do not think additional size should be the immediate or only a reaction to what we continue to observe at the Experts. ”
It had been the new Masters chairman’ s 1st public comments in light of the annual Range Report released last month simply by golf’ s governing bodies, the particular USGA and R& A. That report demonstrated a jump in driving range averages across golf’ s 7 major professional tours by an average of three yards through 2016 to 2017, a spectacular deviation from the 0. 2-yard typical annual gain from 2003 in order to 2016.
The particular USGA and R& A report the distance 2017 distance gains “ unusual and concerning, ” plus called for “ closer inspection plus monitoring to fully understand the causes plus effects. ” The ruling body committed to further study of generating distances, urging a “ innovative conversation” on the issue and that “ all key stakeholders are involved in an and inclusive process, and that we all move forward together in the best interests associated with golf at all levels. ”
That report, nevertheless , was met with resistance simply by both the PGA of America as well as the PGA Tour, as well as some producers, including Acushnet and TaylorMade. Each manufacturers, the PGA Tour’ s Jay Monahan and the PGA of America’ h Pete Bevacqua asked the need for the ruling bodies in order to pursue any further equipment regulations minimizing distance. All suggested any rollback could deter growth in the game, plus Acushnet’ t CEO David Maher even recommended that unusual gains at just a number of events including the major championships abnormally skewed the comparative distance figures between 2016 and 2017 .
But Ridley, a former USGA president, took a far more collaborative tone. He made it obvious that he preferred that any option not be Augusta National’ s actions alone. He stressed consensus through not only golf’ s ruling body, but all of golf’ s institutions.
“ We’ve been consistent in expressing our self-confidence in the governing bodies and we will always support their efforts, ” this individual said. “ Although differing sights may well exist on this subject amongst golf’ s major stakeholders, hopefully and strongly encourage all that are part of our sport to work collectively in the best interests of the game that important issue evolves. ”
He later recommended that the distance issue requires wider thinking.
“ My hope is that every firm, every stakeholder involved, will look with this issue from a holistic basis, rather than only what might be in the needs of their own organization, ” he mentioned. “ We fully appreciate and don’t want any action to be taken that’ s going to make golf harder. We now have an obligation to grow the game, we’ re sensitive to that.
“ So these issues don’ t always coincide and similar to difficult question it requires compromise plus debate and so as long as we’ lso are all talking to one another and taking care of what’ s in the best attention of the game, I’ m self-confident that there’ s going to be considered a solution that’ s going to work with everyone. ”