'Something has to give': Top star wades into distance row

Patrick Cantlay

World No.3 Patrick Cantlay admitted golf’s seemingly never-ending quest for more yards is “not sustainable”.

The distance the golf ball travels has been a hot topic in the game for decades, and it has come into the spotlight again in recent years due to the advent of new technology and big-hitters such as Bryson DeChambeau. 

Those advances have prompted some courses to make drastic changes in order to avoid becoming obsolete. 

Augusta National previously announced it will extend the 11th and 15th holes to accommodate long hitters ahead of the Masters, while fears have been raised over the impact the likes of DeChambeau could have on the Old Course when the Open returns to St Andrews this year. 

• Augusta extended for 2022 Masters

Now it seems even the game’s top players have had enough, with Cantlay admitting not much more can be done to lengthen courses. 

“Theoretically, the golf ball needs to go shorter,” he saidin an interview with David Solomon, the chief executive of his sponsor Goldman Sachs. 

“Every golf course I go to has different tee boxes farther back than even four or five years ago when I visited the golf course. It’s getting to the point where the tee boxes are already to the perimeter of the property, so much so that Augusta National has been buying up all the adjacent pieces of property so they can put more tee boxes and change the holes. 

“That’s not sustainable. Not only that, if pace of play is one of your biggest concerns, how many golf course do I go to on Tour where the tees are 100 yards back? They can’t keep going in this direction.” 

• Montgomerie fears 'the end' for Old Course Opens

Cantlay added some of the game’s historic courses can no longer be played as they were intended because the ball now travels too far. 

“The technology isn’t only better but young guys are trying to hit it farther and farther because the stats say the farther I hit it, the better I’ll play. Something has to give,” he added. 

“I think the biggest shame is that I can’t go to Cypress Point and play the course the way the designer designed the golf course to be played. The biggest problem for me is when we lose the architectural integrity of the golf course. We’re to the point where that’s where we are. Something has to give.”

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