Tiger Woods on the Distance Debate

Tywithay

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Oddly, when a guy gains 10 strokes on the greens, you don't hear people clamoring over these high MOI putters and an unfair advantage. When Koepka won his majors, people weren't up in arms about his ball striking being too big of an advantage. It's because all of these things require skill. Much like distance requires a ton of skill and ability. If technology made everyone hit it 330, they'd all be using it. The biggest technological advances in golf had been made to the athletes, not the equipment.
 

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Getting back to Tiger's comments, his is an interesting perspective for many reasons. Most of which how he was THE outlier in terms of distance once, and now isn't the longest on Tour. As a guy who now dabbles in course design -- including Payne's Valley, which had a 650-yard par 5 -- I'll be watching his perspective in the coming years.
 

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Oddly, when a guy gains 10 strokes on the greens, you don't hear people clamoring over these high MOI putters and an unfair advantage...
They outlawed anchored putting after a couple guys won majors with it. That, and the groove rule on wedges, were even more ridiculous knee jerk reactions than this distance rollback debacle.
 

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Socialist Golf sounds awesome.
Everybody plays identical gear.
Wears identical apparel.
Hits it the same distance.
We give trophies to everybody.

Where’s my “Last FP” trophy then? I’ve been waiting for like 15 months, diligently checking the mail every day.

I expect it to have my likeness slurping from the last teet of a cow.
 

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The comparisons to other sports as basis for counterarguments are hilarious. Perhaps even more than the "so if you say this then you're also saying this" comparison.
Golf is a sport, no?

Bifurcation? Everyone plays the same ball? Same equipment?

How stupid. Who cares if the winning score is -30 or +10. It basically plays fair to everyone. If someone worked their ass off to hit it further, how are they not still hitting it further with reduced flight balls/equipment.

Maybe we can have a strict CHS limit of 120 with driver? That should teach em. In fact, 1 stroke penalty for each MPH they go above 120. Every hole.

That makes sense? Let em score. Let them hit the ball as far as they want/can. That’s what I want to see anyways.

Pardon me if I can’t get horned up by a tour pro hitting it the same lame ass distance I can conjur up because they’re playing limited something or other.

I cannot concur with any dialing it back or distance is killing the game/sport arguments.

Get bigger/stronger/faster, reap the rewards. Dial it back and those that can will still get those rewards.

Everyone playing the same gear? 👎🏻 Same thing with ball. 👎🏻

Golf is supposed to be fun. Most of us here pay to play versus the other way around. If I want a ball to go less than optimum distance I’ll swipe at it weakly until it does.
 

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Years ago bowling was set up to stop 300 games. No alley could block a lane with oil and when a 300 game was rolled all the pins where pulled from the pair of alleys and weighed and inspected before the game was approved. fast forward a lot of people lost interest in bowling so they decided to make it a lot easier to bring people back. I had 3 - 300 games back in the day now I know people that couldn’t average 200 have 20-300 games now. Golf needs to be careful if you keep the average guy that pays for the game and equipment down they’ll leave the game and it will suffer.
 

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At this point I don’t see an issue. Longer has been a thing for
Many years. It does not seem to be dominating tour wins week in and week out. I mean Bryson has won twice this year, that’s hardly out of the norm. We still have a lot of different winners in the past year. Tiger has won twice, ok maybe a little more than a year. He is not driving it like is used to. You still have to play well to win.
 

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Distance alone does not correlate with low scores. Only 5 of the top 20 in driving distance last year finished in the top 20 in PGA scoring and winnings. However, long enough and accurate does correlate well with low scores. Of the top 20 in SG off the tee last year, 14 of them finished in the top 20 in scoring. Someone like Bryson or Rory who are long and fairly accurate is truly a rare skill to have and develop. Sort of like being able to consistently hit a 95 mph fastball.
 

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Distance alone does not correlate with low scores. Only 5 of the top 20 in driving distance last year finished in the top 20 in PGA scoring and winnings. However, long enough and accurate does correlate well with low scores. Of the top 20 in SG off the tee last year, 14 of them finished in the top 20 in scoring. Someone like Bryson or Rory who are long and fairly accurate is truly a rare skill to have and develop. Sort of like being able to consistently hit a 95 mph fastball.
I agree here. How is that having a good iron, wedge, short, or putting game is skill but being able to bomb it and keep it in play is not. We have all tried to swing out of our shoes to crush a ball and have all probably hit a few good ones doing that. We have also probably hit a much larger amount very bad while doing that. Just look at long drive competitions. They only have to have one ball go far and be reasonably straight. While they have some athletic ability and talent, I wouldn't put it in the category of skill like Bryson and Rory. Now if they had to hit 7 of 10 in play and measure the average distance than I would be more inclined to say that is a skill.
 

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I fail to understand why the argument of "don't take my distance away" continues to pop up. We're talking about the pro game. Period.
 

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I fail to understand why the argument of "don't take my distance away" continues to pop up. We're talking about the pro game. Period.
Are we? The same old guard that rail against distance also insists that it is mandatory that we all play the same game, and that bifurcation of rules is a non-starter.
 

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I fail to understand why the argument of "don't take my distance away" continues to pop up. We're talking about the pro game. Period.
I like the fact thought that I can go out and pretty much play the same game as the pros. Yeah I'm not at the same level they are but I'm playing the same game. The reason I say pretty much is because some of the courses I can't play the same tees that they may play for a tournament. I have played at TPC San Antonio on the Oaks course on the last day it was open to public play (about 10 days) before the start of the tournament. We played the tips that day and on most holes it was just a few yards in front of where they had it closed off for the pros. There were a few holes where they were still a good 20-30 yards back. That is about as close as I will probably get to playing the same course as the pros and it makes you realize how good they are. You simply can't do that with other sports.
 

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I dunno, I don't think Tiger is wrong. I just don't get why and how the companies give the USGA and R&A all this power. Same with the Tours.

The governing bodies made the mistake of letting it go during the Golden Tiger years, but realized that they were all rolling the cash and were to greedy about it.
 

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You know, I just had a very interesting thought. If it was possible to get the average drive of all golfers, everywhere. I 100% guarantee you the average drive would be significantly shorter in 2020/21 than in 2019.
 

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One game please, thicken rough/tighten fairways and other things but no major rule changes - at end of day scoring should only matter if certain players pulling away and long hitters such as Woods, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Norman, Ballesteros - always had strong a relative advantage. Today so many of the talented and athletic field are long or long enough to compete. Leave it alone.
 

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One game please, thicken rough/tighten fairways and other things but no major rule changes - at end of day scoring should only matter if certain players pulling away and long hitters such as Woods, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Norman, Ballesteros - always had strong a relative advantage. Today so many of the talented and athletic field are long or long enough to compete. Leave it alone.
Thick rough / narrow fairways is a great way to force all the short hitters off tour. Did you see what happened at Winged Foot? Harding Park?

Part of the reason we have this so called problem is that golf's ruling bodies are totally clueless as to which setups actually favour long hitters. They keep making courses longer so that guys like Bryson, Wolff, and Champ can't hit wedge into every par 4, but in doing so, they put an even bigger premium on distance. They make the fairways so narrow that nobody can consistently hit them and then grow the rough so long that only the highest swing speed guys can gouge the ball out of it. Then they complain that the modern game is all about distance (which it isn't since approach play is still the biggest separator at all levels of play), but they sure aren't helping with the way they insist on 'combating' the bombers.
 

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I like the fact thought that I can go out and pretty much play the same game as the pros. Yeah I'm not at the same level they are but I'm playing the same game. The reason I say pretty much is because some of the courses I can't play the same tees that they may play for a tournament. I have played at TPC San Antonio on the Oaks course on the last day it was open to public play (about 10 days) before the start of the tournament. We played the tips that day and on most holes it was just a few yards in front of where they had it closed off for the pros. There were a few holes where they were still a good 20-30 yards back. That is about as close as I will probably get to playing the same course as the pros and it makes you realize how good they are. You simply can't do that with other sports.
But most of us don't play the same game as the pros. I don't have any desire to go out and play from 7000+ yards with ankle deep rough and greens stimping at 13 with tucked pins, and we don't have galleries and forecaddies and TV cameras to find our wayward balls for us, or Top Tracer and Shotlink monitoring all our stats. We don't have caddies, yardage books or green charts, nor rules officials all over the course when we need a ruling. Most of us don't hit the ball as far as the pros do, or have such tight dispersion and distance control. We're playing the same game in that we're using clubs to propel a ball around a golf course, but in a lot of other ways we're not playing anywhere near the same game. If one of the Tour pros came to my home course and played from the tees I play from, the way we played the course wouldn't bear much resemblance at all.

It's part of why I shake my head in amazement at the fact that Tour wins drive equipment sales. The thought of a 30 handicap going out and buying Bryson's driver or JT's irons because they saw them win with them is ludicrous. Unless you have Bryson or JT's swing and talent, chances are good that the vast majority of golfers are doing their game a grave disservice by trying to play the same clubs they do. I read the pro WITBs just out of curiosity because I'm a golf geek, but not once in my life have I ever made an equipment decision based upon what a Tour pro was playing. In fact, if they're playing it that's a pretty good indication to me that I shouldn't be.
 

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Thick rough / narrow fairways is a great way to force all the short hitters off tour. Did you see what happened at Winged Foot? Harding Park?

Part of the reason we have this so called problem is that golf's ruling bodies are totally clueless as to which setups actually favour long hitters. They keep making courses longer so that guys like Bryson, Wolff, and Champ can't hit wedge into every par 4, but in doing so, they put an even bigger premium on distance. They make the fairways so narrow that nobody can consistently hit them and then grow the rough so long that only the highest swing speed guys can gouge the ball out of it. Then they complain that the modern game is all about distance (which it isn't since approach play is still the biggest separator at all levels of play), but they sure aren't helping with the way they insist on 'combating' the bombers.
Fair enough my point was distance has always been an advantage and getting to the right steps to abate it is difficult. Steps like progressive rough (deeper closer to the hole etc.) and variable rough are all possibly in play by those making decisions but I do not want two balls personally.
 

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Thick rough / narrow fairways is a great way to force all the short hitters off tour. Did you see what happened at Winged Foot? Harding Park?

Part of the reason we have this so called problem is that golf's ruling bodies are totally clueless as to which setups actually favour long hitters. They keep making courses longer so that guys like Bryson, Wolff, and Champ can't hit wedge into every par 4, but in doing so, they put an even bigger premium on distance. They make the fairways so narrow that nobody can consistently hit them and then grow the rough so long that only the highest swing speed guys can gouge the ball out of it. Then they complain that the modern game is all about distance (which it isn't since approach play is still the biggest separator at all levels of play), but they sure aren't helping with the way they insist on 'combating' the bombers.
 

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I mean, Tiger is right. Launch montiers have allowed players to optimize their gear and to perfect their technique. That combined with modern equipment and a greater emphasis on physical fitness gives you what we've got right now.
I think he's also right that if you are going to roll back gear, at what point do you do it where its fair for recreational golfers but still maintains the spirit of the game and doesn't obsolete classic courses that don't have option to simply make the holes longer.
 

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Thick rough / narrow fairways is a great way to force all the short hitters off tour. Did you see what happened at Winged Foot? Harding Park?

Part of the reason we have this so called problem is that golf's ruling bodies are totally clueless as to which setups actually favour long hitters. They keep making courses longer so that guys like Bryson, Wolff, and Champ can't hit wedge into every par 4, but in doing so, they put an even bigger premium on distance. They make the fairways so narrow that nobody can consistently hit them and then grow the rough so long that only the highest swing speed guys can gouge the ball out of it. Then they complain that the modern game is all about distance (which it isn't since approach play is still the biggest separator at all levels of play), but they sure aren't helping with the way they insist on 'combating' the bombers.
I disagree with part of this... the tour is trying to balance power by putting a premium on accuracy. It won’t force short hitters off the tour. It’ll require players to work on accuracy.... Regarding the Open, you can’t lump all the long hitters with Bryson. There were plenty of long guys who missed the cut. There were short hitters who made the cut. I don’t understand why folks dismiss that Bryson was very good vs the field in driving accuracy, gir, and putting. He had an all around very good game that week.




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But most of us don't play the same game as the pros. I don't have any desire to go out and play from 7000+ yards with ankle deep rough and greens stimping at 13 with tucked pins, and we don't have galleries and forecaddies and TV cameras to find our wayward balls for us, or Top Tracer and Shotlink monitoring all our stats. We don't have caddies, yardage books or green charts, nor rules officials all over the course when we need a ruling. Most of us don't hit the ball as far as the pros do, or have such tight dispersion and distance control. We're playing the same game in that we're using clubs to propel a ball around a golf course, but in a lot of other ways we're not playing anywhere near the same game. If one of the Tour pros came to my home course and played from the tees I play from, the way we played the course wouldn't bear much resemblance at all.

It's part of why I shake my head in amazement at the fact that Tour wins drive equipment sales. The thought of a 30 handicap going out and buying Bryson's driver or JT's irons because they saw them win with them is ludicrous. Unless you have Bryson or JT's swing and talent, chances are good that the vast majority of golfers are doing their game a grave disservice by trying to play the same clubs they do. I read the pro WITBs just out of curiosity because I'm a golf geek, but not once in my life have I ever made an equipment decision based upon what a Tour pro was playing. In fact, if they're playing it that's a pretty good indication to me that I shouldn't be.
I don't know where Top Tracer and Shotlink have anything to do with playing the game. Those are to collect data for stats and training purposes but don't have anything to do with actually playing the game. You can play courses where you will have Forecaddies, in tournaments with people watching that can see your ball, etc. At the end of the day though non of that has anything to do with the fact that you playing the same game, maybe outcome a little without as many last balls but still the same game. Sure you can play from different yardages but you still have the same specs on golf clubs and golf balls, play by the same rules, and are trying to put a ball in a hole from a long ways away.

Golf balls and clubs have been getting better for a long time. The distance that people have hit the ball has been increasing through the years since the first open was played. Why is it only now a problem? Guys are more athletic and have started training to maximize their potential. They shouldn't be punished because of that. Literally ever other sports has people training to become bigger, better, faster, stronger, etc.
 

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...Golf balls and clubs have been getting better for a long time. The distance that people have hit the ball has been increasing through the years since the first open was played. Why is it only now a problem? Guys are more athletic and have started training to maximize their potential. They shouldn't be punished because of that. Literally ever other sports has people training to become bigger, better, faster, stronger, etc.
No disagreement there, and I don’t understand why golf is the only sport that seems to have a problem with it.

According to Pro Football Focus, the average linebacker in 1920-1939 was 6’0” and 205 pounds. The average linebacker 2000-present is 6’2” and 245 pounds. They’re bigger, stronger, and their training and nutrition is far more advanced and focused. I haven’t seen a cry for the NFL to roll back linebackers.
 

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No disagreement there, and I don’t understand why golf is the only sport that seems to have a problem with it.

According to Pro Football Focus, the average linebacker in 1920-1939 was 6’0” and 205 pounds. The average linebacker 2000-present is 6’2” and 245 pounds. They’re bigger, stronger, and their training and nutrition is far more advanced and focused. I haven’t seen a cry for the NFL to roll back linebackers.
That might be one sport where it would make since to roll them back. I bet the average speed for modern linebackers is faster too. Add those together and it can really hurt someone getting hit by them.
 

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