Distance Debate
July 17, 2020

Jack Nicklaus rips golf's governing bodies over distance gains: 'Stop studying it and do something!'

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Steve Dykes

Jack Nicklaus has made his thoughts about equipment regulations—in particular, those concerning the golf ball—known many times through the years, but he offered perhaps his most blunt public comments regarding the matter on Thursday.

While appearing during Golf Channels first-round coverage of the Memorial, the 18-time major champ ripped golfs governing bodies for what they're doing to combat distance in the modern game. Or, rather, what theyre not doing.

“The USGA and the R&A have got to wake up sooner or later,” Nicklaus said after being asked about the topic by Nick Faldo. “They can’t just keep burying their heads on this. They see it, they watch television, they see where these guys hit the golf ball. It isn’t about how far they hit it. You just can’t keep making golf courses longer. You just don’t have enough land, you don’t have enough money to do it.”

Again, this isn’t the first time Nicklaus, 80, has expressed such comments. But it’s probably the first time he was asked about the issue on the same day that the same golfer, Bryson DeChambeau, hit two 400-yard drives, including a preposterous 423-yard poke on No. 1.

Nicklaus has long advocated for a different tournament ball for professionals, something that Colin Montgomerie recently supported as well.

“I’ve been preaching about it for, goodness gracious … 43 years [ago] I first went to the USGA,” Nicklaus continued. “I mean, that’s a long time to be studying something. Guys, stop studying it and do something! Will you, please?”

Nicklaus was referring in part to a two-year Distance Insights Project report that was released in February. The study concluded, “that golf will best thrive over the next decades and beyond if this continuing cycle of ever-increasing hitting distances and golf course lengths is brought to an end.” However, no changes have been made yet.

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