Tiger Woods has told golf’s rule-makers that they’ve waited too long to try to address the game’s distance issue, insisting: “The genie’s out of the bag now”.
The subject of how far professional golfers are able to hit the ball has been thrown into sharper focus over the past few months, largely on account of Bryson DeChambeau’s exploits.
The American has gone through a significant physical transformation in order to maximise his gains over the rest of the field off the tee. Though widely derided initially, DeChambeau was vindicated last month when he won his maiden major, the US Open, at Winged Foot.
Making his first appearance since then at this week’s ZOZO Championship, where he is the defending champion, Woods was asked if the R&A and USGA should be worried by these recent developments.
“They should have been worried a long time ago,” said the 15-time major winner. “It's [now] about what do we do going forward and how soon can they do it. You're not going to stop the guys who are there right now.
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“Guys are figuring out how to carry the ball 320-plus yards, and it's not just a few of them. There's a lot of guys can do it. That's where the game's going.
“There's only going to be a small amount of property that we can do, we can alter golf courses. I just don't see how they can roll everything back. I would like to be able to see that, as far as our game, but then we go back down the road of what do you bifurcate, at what level?
“That's a long discussion we've had for a number of years, for 20-plus years now, and I think it's only going to continue.”
Woods was famously one of the biggest hitters in the game when he first turned professional. However, he joked the only way he can hit the ball as far as Bryson, is to hit it down a runway.
“Distance has always been an advantage,” added Woods. “Now that we have the tools, that being the launch monitor, the fitting of the golf clubs, the adjustability, I think all that plays into the fact that you're able to maximise the capabilities of a driver. There's no reason why you can't pick up more yardage, and guys have done that.
“They've changed shafts, they've changed lofts, they've changed weights on their heads and length of clubs. Driving is such a huge part of the game and it's so advantageous if you're able to get the ball out there. It just makes the game so much easier.”