Fred Ridley says there's an "issue" with distance

Drivingdistance

New Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley gave the clearest indication yet that something needs to be done about driving distances.

During his first sit-down with the press, Ridley was asked for his thoughts on what appears to be an on-going saga in golfing circles, and he said he was concerned about the current situation in the game.

Tellingly, he quoted Augusta National co-founder Bobby Jones, as if to reinforce his view that something was not right.

“There’s a great quote from Bobby Jones which deals with the 13th hole, which has been lengthened,” explained Ridley. “He said ‘the decision to go for the green in two should be a momentous one’. And I have to say, our observations of these great players hitting irons into that hole is not a momentous decision.

“There is an issue that needs to be addressed,” he added. “It’s going to be a collective decision. We will do whatever is necessary and my hope is that every organisation, every stakeholder, will look at this issue. We fully appreciate that we do not want to make golf harder.

“We are intent on making sure we maintain the design philosophy that Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie devised. With the shot values that they thought were important, we’ve done what we felt was important through the years to maintain that.

“Like any difficult decision, it requires compromise. I’m confident there’s going to be a solution that will work for everyone.

Augusta National recently acquired land from Augusta Country Club sitting behind the 12th green and 13th tee, which has led to speculation that they will extended the tee box at 13. The land was supposedly bought last year in a deal with $28million. 

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