The chief executive of the R&A has warned Bryson DeChambeau that he won’t be allowed to continue overpowering golf courses with brute force, insisting that he will rein-in manufacturing restrictions if required.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Martin Slumbers admitted to being ‘fascinated’ by DeChambeau’s new power-centric approach to the game.
However, he reiterated his long-held belief that golf should be a game of skill and that he will use all means available to him to ensure that it remains that way.
'I'm not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape,” said Slumbers of DeChambeau, who put on a reported 20 pounds' worth of muscle during the sport’s COVID-19 hiatus
“I can't think of anyone. I'm thinking of some boxers because I love boxing. But what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn't the first one to put on muscle in golf.
“How he's able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he's a true athlete.
“But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right.”
As one of the game’s two primary governing bodies, the R&A, has been closely monitoring hitting distances and, in February, announced its intention to develop and explore a number of solutions to bring to an end the “continuing cycle of ever-increasing hitting distances and golf course lengths”.
The next stage of its Distance Insights Project – jointly undertaken with the USGA – has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. However, Slumbers insists that it hasn’t been forgotten.
“Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn't going to be tomorrow, because we don't know what's going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness,” he added.
“It is too simple just to say change the ball. Way too simple. You can do things with the ball.
“But it's the relationship between ball and club which is most important to me.”
• Click here to read the full Daily Mail interview with Martin Slumbers.