The NY Times' Karen Crouse takes on the delicate subject of technology and tradition and I got very excited to read that the R&A's driving distance plateau talk was debunked using a little different method than the governing bodies use: the average of the 50th ranked player.
Peter Dawson, the chief executive of the R&A, said his organization and the U.S.G.A. issued a joint statement a decade ago saying they were prepared to take action if distances increased any more. “Distances have actually plateaued since then,” he said in the same conference call.
The PGA Tour statistics tell another story. In 1997, the 50th-ranked player averaged 272.3 yards. By 2002, the distance had risen to 285.0. In 2012, it was 294.7.
Typically the governing bodies will point out that in 2002 the average was 279.8 and in the case of the most recent year, the PGA Tour driving distance average was 289.1.
Because a 9.8 yard discrepancy is much more palatable than a 22.4 yard increase!