PGA Tour star brands R&A report 'misleading'

James Hahn1
Two-time PGA Tour winner James Hahn has branded the driving distance paper released yesterday by The R&A and USGA as ‘misleading’.

The 24-page paper examines driving distance data from seven of the major professional golf tours based on two holes at each tournament, yielding approximately 285,000 drives per year.

It found that, between 2003-16, average driving distance on five of the seven main tours increased by approximately 1.2% – around 0.2 yards – while driving distance on the other two tours studied – Japan Golf Tour and Ladies European Tour – decreased by 1.5%.

Hahn wasn’t convinced the report’s findings in said as much in a response on Twitter to the PGA Tour’s Jonathan Wall.

READ MORE -> Jack Nicklaus goes on another golf ball rant

James Hahn

According to the report, 95% of PGA Tour pros and 96% of European Tour pros use drivers on the holes measured, but those are percentages from just two of the seven tours.

Others are likely to echo Hahn’s feelings, including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player (below) and Paul McGinley, who have been outspoken about the impact of technology in the game.

Nine-time major champion Player branded last year’s driving distance report ‘laughable’.

READ MORE -> Paul McGinley says technology needs to change

Gary Player 1

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he told bunkered.co.uk. “You can’t take an average. Take the 20 longest hitters from whatever era you like, put it together and compare it to now – and you’ll see a 50-yard difference.

“It’s really laughable. Never mind stats, the eyes don’t lie. I’m seeing things that were not possible – 360, sometimes 400-yard drives.”

At the end of the paper, it states the governing bodies would ‘immediately seek ways of protecting the game’ if ‘meaningful increases’ in distance happen.

However, it does not define what constitutes a ‘meaningful increase’.

Martin Slumbers (above), chief executive of The R&A, said: “In the interests of good governance and transparency it is important that we continue to provide reliable data and facts about driving distance in golf.

“Driving distance remains a topic of discussion within the game and the review provides accurate data to help inform the debate.”

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