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Jack Nicklaus believes that the R&A and USGA need to impose tighter restrictions on equipment to protect the integrity of the game.

Ernie Els disagrees.

The four-time major champion took to Twitter to share his views on the distance debate just days after Nicklaus called on the game’s rulemakers to roll back the golf ball.

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During an appearance on the CBS broadcast of the Memorial Tournament, Nicklaus said: The golf ball is a very, very simple thing to fix and I’ve been preaching about it for 43 years,” he said. “That’s when I first went to the USGA [about it]. That’s a long time to be saying, ‘Oh, we’re studying it.’

“Guys, stop studying it. Do something will you please?”

Within 48 hours, Els – not the most prolific Tweeter – contradicted 18-time major champion Nicklaus’ sentiments, suggesting a different approach altogether.

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“Our game is in a good place,” observed the 50-year-old ‘Big Easy’. “Equipment improvements and distance are here to stay. Full stop. We need a ‘serious’ premium on accuracy. Golf courses don’t need to be longer. Make the Tour rough knee high, fairways fast and firm which is fair for all players.”

The distance issue has been attracting considerable attention again thanks to the big-hitting exploits of Bryson DeChambeau.

The American put on approximately 20 pounds during the COVID-19 lockdown in a bid to defeat courses with brawn rather than brains.

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He has proven largely successful, too, posting seven consecutive top-10 finishes on the tour – including one win – before a missed cut at the Memorial ended his streak.

DeChambeau’s prodigious length off the tee prompted R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers to warn that he will impose tighter sanctions on equipment standards if the American’s power becomes a trend.   


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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