Augusta's Chairman Fred Ridley says the game is at a crossroads and increased distance is not good for the game
Augusta National On Distance Debate – “We Are At A Crossroads”
Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley says that golf is at a crossroads when it comes to the distance debate and that increased hitting distances are not good for the game.
Ridley has also said that the par-5 13th hole will not be lengthened ahead of April’s Masters as the season is already underway, despite admitting that the challenge of the hole is being diminished.
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Bryson DeChambeau has already said this week that he hit a wedge into the 13th and that he thinks of the course as a par 68.
Ridley also said that a call to action on the distance debate will come in April when the R&A and USGA concludes its latest Distance Insights Report.
“I think we are at a crossroads as relates to this issue,” Ridley said.
“We have always been very supportive of the governing bodies; we will continue to be supportive. We think that it’s good that the game of golf is governed by the USGA and The R&A. We think they are great stewards of the game.
“But I’m hopeful that with the work and the studies that have been ongoing for some time, and I understand that in April there’s to be some sort of publication of their conclusions, I do think that we’re coming closer to a call to action.
“And all I can say is that, as it relates to our golf course, we have options, and we will take the necessary action to make sure we stay relevant.
“But as it relates to the 13th hole, I totally agree with you. It still provides a lot of drama, but its challenge is being diminished.
“We don’t think that’s good for the Masters. We don’t think it’s good for the game.
“But the issue is a lot larger than Augusta National and the Masters. We have options, as I said, we can make changes, but not every golf course can.
“Having said that, it’s a balance because the next question is, obviously, or should be, well, you don’t want to make the game harder.
“On one hand we want to say we want to grow the game, and on the other hand we’re saying we’re worried about distance.
“I think everybody just has got to get their head together and figure it out.”
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