The distance debate is never far from the surface, especially where golf's most famous course is concerned - but Augusta National's Chairman insists lengthening the layout is not the answer
Chairman Of Augusta National Doesn’t Want 8,000 Yard Masters
Chairman Of Augusta National Golf Club, Fred Ridley, says he hopes “there will not come a day when the Masters or any other golf championship will have to be played at 8,000 yards.”
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In February, golf’s governing bodies announced two areas for research as well as three proposed changes to current equipment standards, which split opinion on which way the sport should go forward.
And the distance debate has received extra attention in recent times with Bryson DeChambeau continuing to hit frightening new numbers in his quest for maximum yardage gains.Last November, the big-hitting American came unstuck, yet even if he, or any other competitors employ aggressive tactics this time around – and achieve greater success – Ridley is convinced Augusta National cannot simply be bludgeoned.
“As I have stated in the past each year, we look at every hole of our golf course,” Ridley said on the eve of the tournament.
“Fortunately, we do have the ability to make any number of changes to protect the integrity of the course.
“This is an important crossroads, so we will continue to urge the governing bodies and all interested parties to put forward thoughtful solutions as soon as possible.”
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Opening up on the debate and discussing The Distance Insight Report, he added: “I know there’s been some talk in the past of possibly a Masters golf ball or something like that.
“I would think that would be highly unlikely and would, in my view, be an absolute last resort.
“We have had a long-standing position of supporting the governing bodies.
“I was very encouraged when I saw the areas of interest that were published by the USGA and R&A recently.
“I know there have been varying opinions among players and others, other stakeholders in golf, and that’s really how the process should work.
“Our position would be to support the governing bodies, and then if there is no action taken, for whatever reason, then we need to look at other options with regard to our golf course and what we can do to continue to challenge these great golfers and maintain the design integrity that was initially adopted by Mr. Jones and Mr. MacKenzie.”