Gary Player has called on golf’s rule-makers to impose tighter restrictions on golf ball manufacturers in a bid to prevent the game’s top players “making a mockery” of the world’s top courses.
Speaking during this week's KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink – where he won the 1962 US PGA – Player was asked for his opinion on Bryson DeChambeau and his distance-first approach to the game.
Whislt he said that is a huge fan of the new US Open champion, South African Player insisted that the time has come for the R&A and USGA to rein in golf ball technology.
“Do I admire DeChambeau? Extremely so, because you've got to look after your body,” said the nine-time major champion. “It's a holy temple. Your health is the single most important thing in your life, and he's working out and taking it to another level,
“They all said, Here comes the kook, here comes the scientist, but he's been more brilliant than all of them, and there's nothing worse than when you think you have a superior attitude to others and they actually have a superior knowledge to you.
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“He is a step above them all, and he has a phenomenally good golf swing. They all say he has a strange swing. It might look strange but, basically, in pieces, it's one of the best swings a human being could have. This man, there's no telling how well he can do.”
However, he added: “What perturbs me is the golf manufacturers, particularly the golf balls, they're reluctant to change. All golf balls go the same distance now. No one golf ball goes further than the other. I've tried them all. They're not allowed to go further.
“So if we cut the balls back further, 50 yards, it's not going to affect their sales. Whoever is No.1 now will be No.1 then because the reason you're No.1 is because of your advertising and your marketing. That's the only reason you spend more money and you have more players using it and endorsing it. That's the reason. Not because it's a better ball.
“So we must cut the ball back, and it will happen. As sure as I'm standing here, it will happen, otherwise they're going to make a mockery of these golf courses, and we cannot make them longer because we're running out of water.”
Player said that unless something is done, he worries about what DeChambeau might do to the Old Course when the Open Championship returns to St Andrews in 2021.
“If Bryson DeChambeau went to St Andrews today, he could drive, I think, almost nine greens of the Home of Golf, and this is not what the idea is,” he added.
“So all golf courses are going to be obsolete, and we are begging the USGA and begging the R&A to please cut the ball back at least 50 yards, otherwise this game is not going to be the game that we all love and enjoyed so much.”