R&A and USGA to publish "most comprehensive review of distance to date"

Dj Driving Distance Story

The R&A and USGA have announced that they will publish the findings of their Distance Insights Project Report by February 4, 2020.

In a joint statement released today, the administrative bodies said they are in the process of finalising the report but that that they want to take extra time to get it right.

"Reinforcing our commitment to ensure that the report is the most comprehensive review of

distance to date, we are taking more time to complete our due diligence," they said. "We

appreciate the contributions and support we have received and believe that the data and discussion will benefit the entire golf community."

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The R&A and the USGA launched the Distance Insights project in May 2018 to initiate the most comprehensive global study of distance in golf to date.

They intended to to achieve better understanding of the contributors to and impacts of distance on golf through primary and third-party research, a detailed research and data review and the collection of views from throughout the golf industry.

The report was originally expected to be published before the end of this year.

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Distance has become one of golf's most hotly-debated subjects over the last decade or so.

The discussion intensified earlier this year when Fred Ridley, the chairman of the influential Augusta National Golf Club, used his pre-Masters press conference to call upon the R&A and USGA to make a decision on how to deal with the matter.

Explaining his reluctance to alter the iconic 13th hole at Augusta National, which, in his own words, no longer plays as its designer Bobby Jones intended it to, Ridley said: “Whilst there’s no hesitation on my part or, historically, on the part of Augusta National to make changes, Amen Corner is a sacred place in the world of golf and I am hesitant to move too quickly in that regard.

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"My preference is to see what the governing bodies decide is best for the game and then we will take appropriate action in response to that."

He added: “The momentous decision that I’ve spoken about, and that Bobby Jones often spoke about, of going for the green in two is, to a large extent, no longer relevant.

“Although we now have options to increase the length of this hole, we intend to wait to see how distance may be addressed by the governing bodies before we take any action.”

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Speaking in the latest edition of bunkered, meanwhile, three-time US Open champion Hale Irwin called on golf’s governing bodies to more tightly regulate golf ball technology to solve the issue of courses like Augusta National and the Old Course at St Andrews becoming obsolete.

"I do think that, at some point, the governing bodies need to wrap their arms around getting the golf ball back," said Irwin. "If they can take even 5% off the distance that the ball travels, it would help.”

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