The R&A and the US Golf Association have been warned by the game’s leading ball-maker Titleist that they will be setting the game back 30 years if they go through with their proposals to reduce the extreme lengths being hit by modern pros.
telegraph sport Exclusive revealed on Monday After years of study, reports and consultation, the governing bodies will finally announce their solution to resolve the “distance issue” and end decades of debate.
And on Tuesday he duly revealed plans to introduce a regulation that would allow tours and individual tournaments to have a “rolled” ball that would travel an average of 15 yards from now on.
The “modern local rules” are intended only for elite players and will not affect the recreational golfer and will mean an effective dichotomy, meaning that for the first time there will be different equipment rules within the game.
Under proposals sent to equipment manufacturers on Monday, the ball must travel no more than 320 yards at a lab-controlled swing speed of 120 mph to 127 mph.
A six-month period of consultation will be held, with industry to voice concerns and they will inevitably be plentiful, but the R&A and the USGA made clear they plan to implement this dramatic overhaul from January 1, 2026. are firm.
Titleist, the American company that controls about 50 percent of the entire market and provides balls for about three-quarters of the players on the PGA Tour, made no effort to hide its disdain for “a solution looking for a problem.” and “detrimental to the long-term well-being of golf”.
“Under the proposed guidelines, events adopting this MLR would require players to use significantly smaller golf balls than were available in the 1990s,” it said in a statement.
“Changes in the performance of any rolled ball will affect every shot in the round. This disruption will also require players to adapt to changes in equipment, with some players being disadvantaged by others.
“The golf ball dichotomy will invite confusion as to what level of competition will use MLR products and how to effectively manage and operate them. This dichotomy will divide golf between elite and recreational sport, create confusion, and damage the sustainable fabric of the sport.” is part of what would break the linkage.
The PGA Tour was more coy in its response, but it was notable that Sawgrass headquarters chose to announce that “it is working to ensure any future resolution is resolved without negatively impacting the Tour, its players or our fans.” committed to a cause that benefits the sport as a whole.” ‘Enjoying our game’.
The Tour will admit that it is obviously under no obligation to use the MLR, but with lawyers ready to swoop in, this is where the governing bodies have clearly been shrewd.
In 2021, Masters president Fred Ridley said the “Masters Ball” would be a last resort in the battle to limit distance for the following month’s event with Augusta’s revered 13th 35 yards. The guess was simple and they have three of the four majors at once, with the R&A overseeing the Open and the USGA in charge of the US Open.
It is almost inconceivable that the US PGA Championship – although overseen by the reluctant PGA of America – would not follow suit and the PGA Tour could potentially play by different rules to the majors, the championships by which careers still exist. are defined?
The DP World Tour declined to comment Tuesday, while the LPGA Tour indicated the dilemma is on circuits where distance is not so much an issue.
And then there’s LIV Golf. As for outliers and disruptors, it will be intriguing to see the position taken by the Saudi-funded circuit in a saga that still has some way to go.
USGA chief executive Mike Vann acknowledged that in the midst of a golfing civil war, another ugly front would open. But he and Slumbers argue that it is necessary to “break the growing cycle of distance hitting”, which has led to courses being continually lengthened and classic layouts deemed obsolete, along with environmental concerns— With increasing confidence the game is becoming more one dimensional.
“It won’t be easy, ‘it won’t be fun. Governance is hard and people don’t like change,” Whan said before predicting discontent from the professionals themselves. “”He’s 25, in the prime of his career, hitting the ball far, don’t mess with that formula. I can’t argue with them, I’m not saying they’re wrong, but I also don’t think anyone is asking them to think about what the game is going to be like in 30 years.