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« RIP Race To Dubai, Enter "The Final Series" | Main | Old Course: “I take it they don’t want a 59 shot on it.” »

Gary Player Is Not Happy With The R&A, And He Hasn't Even Heard About The Planned Old Course Changes!

Thanks to reader Mark for this unbylined SAPA story sharing Gary Player's latest (stock) rant on assorted topics (belly putter, lack of bifurcation, longer courses, water).

His venting on changing courses to accommodate the governing bodies and their fear of acting on distance regulation came before he could hear about the R&A's plans for the Old Course to keep it relevant. Can't wait to hear what he has to say about that!

"I would first of all realise, if I were the R&A, that there are two different games and they say it's one game," said Player.

"It isn't because professional golf and amateur golf are as far apart as from here to Cairo. The thing is, they don't want to recognise that."

Player said the R&A need to distinguish amateurs from professionals and have according governing rules.

"If they think it's the same game, go and tee it up and play with Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy and you'll really get the message.

"The amateur is still the important man, not the professional golfer.

"We've to keep continuing with technology for the amateur, but for professional golf we've got to tomorrow cut the ball back 50 yards. It's hurting golf."

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Reader Comments (24)

Well said Mr Player, less of the belly putter and more action on the real culprit The ball.
11.24.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon
Another bullseye from Gary Player - "The amateur is still the important man, not the professional golfer.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
More prouder than ever to be a huge Gary Player fan.

Turn back the ball and ban anchoring asap!
11.25.2012 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
Yes the ball is the problem, but the amateur always wants to play the same game as the pro. The ball needs to change for *everyone*. 70 compression for all!
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMat
GP is pretty much on the money. R&A needs to create a set of exceptions to the rules for 'Professional' golfers. It's nonsense these days to have one set of rules for golf. Football & basketball do it and even soccer does it.

Come on man! USGA and the R & A need to get with the times!
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChamp
Technology has certainly changed the game, and not necessarily for the better. Yes, it's fun to watch what pros can do these days...but it's sad to see certain classic records get broken because of ball/club technology rather than skill alone.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSam H.
Is Gary ever happy anymore?
If there is different rules for pros and amateurs, then isn't it two different?
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
two different games is what I meant.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Many of golf's problems could be solved by placing constraints on the ball, limiting the total length of the golf club and allowing centre shafting of all clubs not just putters
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil
Don't we already have 'multi-furcation' wherein many informal sets of rules are applied by groups of players? Bi-furcation will occur when one of these alternate sets of rules gains enough adherents to become something more than 'fringe' much like when the R&A rules gained enough strength to outshine the other 18th century codes.
11.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob Clarke
It is a great concept with clear reasonable thinking, however how do you propose to have the ball manufacturers design and produce a ball they basically give away? It all comes down to profits and how these companies can generate more of it.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLCL
Who is asking the manufacturers to give away anything? They will still charge a steep premium for the "Tour" balls, which probably don't cost much more to manufacture per unit than the $15 "18-pack" of latter day RockFlights. And it's a given that we will have to keep buying them if we want to play the game...
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Who is going to play the "tour" ball that isn't on the tour? The same guys who play with hickory shafted clubs?
I don't think amateurs will play a ball with less distance.......the pros don't pay for balls, so where is the incentive?
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLCL
With the "Tour" ball, it's behavior, not distance, that is important for the amateur who can spin the ball with clubs from the 5-iron down to the sand wedge. That said, you do see a lot of 70-mph swing speeds hitting a ProV1, and an occasional walk through the woods on the right side of a typical hole on my course from 50-150 yards off the tee will fill the ball pocket with these. Those guys are wasting their money. As for the balls given to Tour players, that might amount to 0.01%(?) of the total market, which is not even a rounding error for Titleist, Bridgestone, TaylorMade, Nike, and Callaway. They make their money on guys like me and most of the other Shackelfordians you meet.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Again, it isn't about what is or isn't "amateur". We could all buy "illegal" balls now, and we don't. Why? Because the amateur golfer wants to compare himself to a pro. Whether that's reasonable or not is a different question, but as soon as you say "the pros use a different ball", golf's popularity will tank.

The better thing to do is for everyone to play with a lower compression ball. There is a compression coefficient for drivers, right? So if you can't sell a "hot" driver (i.e. coefficient of restitution >0.83). Why can't balls be certified to be a certain factor in the same way?

Square grooves from Ping were too good. Conforming grooves in 2010. Faces can be too hot. Frankly, it's time to reign in the ball. If we all play a softer ball, everyone wins. Amateurs will get better control. Pros will have more control. And guys who get paid for distance will have to compete with guys who have better control and better iron play. I see no downside.

And when you say "but what about manufacturers"... what a bonanza! They have to live with rules as they stand now, so adding another layer will help them sell way more than ever before.

Courses need to get shorter. It costs more money to maintain larger areas of land. That's a fact. No one wins with this lengthening race.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMat
The smallest difference between the games of good amateurs and pros is probably distance, so why limit the ball for pros? Despite what Mr Player might think, tour players are not hitting significantly further than they did 10 years ago. The ProV1 was the last big advance and that was in the early 2000s. It allowed skilled players to use a solid core ball that they could still spin and control. The current limits on the ball mean that companies will not improve on it. The fact that all golfers, pros and ams, play under the same equipment rules is important to the game.
The best players in the world are very good and getting better-it's natural progress. Ultimately if (when) somebody shoots 59 at St. Andrews why is this a problem? How to retain the challenge for the best and the relevance of our famous courses? Play to par 70 or 69 when the tour stops at courses the members play at 72. Tighten up landing areas (Bubba Watson ranks 135th in driving accuracy and 2nd in Greens in reg.). Smaller, slopier greens.
New designs should look at short holes that still scare the tour players i.e. the postage stamp at Troon, 12th at Augusta, 17th at Sawgrass and the tricky short par 4s i.e. 3rd at Augusta, 10th at Riviera.
With a bit of thought we won't have to either significantly lengthen courses or limit the ball.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrew coop
The balls should be limited for the pros for the same reason it should be limited for top amateurs. Courses are needing to add length for both pros and amateurs. Andrew, if you want the challenges we're talking about here, you have but a few choices:

#1 - do nothing, but risk the "integrity" of the game, whatever that means to you.
#2 - lower the hardness of the ball, therefore cutting down the some of the distance gained solely through technological gains.
#3 - start enforcing tee usage by handicap - if you're a 36, go to the forwards only.

Otherwise, you have duffers like me who can hit 315y drives (true) and can't ever find my ball (sometimes). My advantage is that it's always better to take a 100y shot from the rough than 160 from the fairway - on average. Thus, I will keep bombing them, and scoring better. I wish I had an incentive to take a shorter shot, but frankly, it isn't. It's a handicap to play "old school" golf. Bomb and gouge scores lower, and that is also what sells. This needs to change, or golf may get more untenable for more courses and players.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMat
Mat, yes there are bomb and gouge guys like you who play well, but there's still plenty top players who certainly don't have 315 yard drives in them doing very nicely by relying on other strengths. The mini tours are full of players who can hit it out the end of the range, but ultimately how do their games, and bank balances, compare to the Furyks, Donalds, Zach Johnsons of the pro game?
Fair play to any golfers who've the athletic ability and technique to generate the clubhead speeds required to consistently hit 300 yard plus drives, that's a skill in itself. But there's so much more to the game. How many guys from the Long Driving Championships would cut it on the PGA Tour? I think the integrity of the game really isn't under threat.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrew coop
Andrew-I beg to differ.
To me the biggest problem with 300 yard plus drives is that they just fly it right past all the trouble and then wedge it onto the green.Not much of a challenge there then!
Adding rough at landing areas is boring in the extreme-most of them just hit an iron off the tee(Lytham)
A drive and a wedge at the Road hole is impressive for sure but a Seve chasing a 4 iron up from the right hand side was sublime.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
I read an interesting article written by a local small town writer who said the ball of the 90's, the Titleist Professional, is a good one to go back to. Tour averages at that time were in the 260's and there were a few guys in the top 10 distance category that were somewhere in the upper 270's like Woody Austin. I think we can live with that for the professional tours. Really easy fix, one ball for all professional tours, who cares which company makes it. Like KLG says, the Manufact. make their money off the average players. They'll figure out a way to market them without using the PGA Tour Pro.
11.26.2012 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Chico, I agree that too much rough isn't great- you don't want to take driver out of players' hands. But you've got to make them think a bit...weigh up risk and reward.
On the Road Hole, I remember when it was 2 and 3 irons being played into the green- a low chasing hook using the contours. Don't see that played so much these days, but it's still a horrendously difficult hole and only a few would be able to go in with a wedge. 17th stroke average at the 2010 Open was 4.66.
11.27.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrew coop
Ol Harv...yup, the ole Professional90 was a favorite right before the ProV1 came out. But it's unfortunate that the Tour Prestige100 wound ball didn't have much longevity. IMO the best wound ball Titleist ever made but the Pinnacle Gold w/ a soft cover killed it.

What could be done....IF they refuse to slow down these new fangled high tech balls/smacking implements Tour pros are using more and more these to lower the # of clubs for PGAT events/majors. If they want to blend shot-making with the new tech, then let em play tough tracks with 10 or 11 clubs.
11.27.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnycz
Johnnycz, yeah less clubs is a great idea, I remember Seve suggesting 12 clubs as max years ago.
That said, I think the negative impact of the new equipment on the game is really being exaggerated by many, Mr Player included. This years Major winners are any less skilled than those from bygone years? I just don't see that.
11.27.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrew coop
Is there a major being conducted this week? why is Gary Player saying things that 100's of others have already said and yet announcing it like he's the first one to say them? I'm surprised he didn't go on at great length about how many millions of miles he's traveled and how many sit ups he does each day.
11.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent

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