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Video: Add DJ To The Bifurcate-Via-The-Ball List

Golf Channel's Todd Lewis sat down with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson at the Hero World Challenge asked about golf's distance issue. Woods reiterated his view that golf take inspiration from baseball's wood bats in using the golf ball as a similar distance regulator.

Johnson was also asked his views and one of the game's longest hitters said he did not mind "seeing other professional sports playing with one ball" and noted that the "doesn’t spin near as much as it used to."

Due to less spin, Johnson actually lamented the lack of a larger gap between "guys who swing very hard and guys who don’t" and wants to see an "advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that’s needed. So having a ball, like that same ball that everyone plays you’re going to have more of an advantage."

Very interesting!

The full clip:

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Reader Comments (40)

Wouldn't be the end of the world if the USGA specified the ball had to be a little larger or lighter and then let the ball companies work on optimization. Doesn't have to be bifurcation but I won't mind if it is.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H.
This rollback is going to happen, and it should. Mark Crossfield is having a discussion on this issue on his site. He mentioned that you might be a guest on his show. I hope that happens. I'll stay tuned in.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterCurtS
Bah, DJ and Tiger don't know what the F they're talking about. Nothing to see here. Ask ... uhhh ... some teacher from Erie, PA. He'll tell ya ... right in between product reviews. :)
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
No drug tests at the Hero World Challenge?
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterFC
I’d love to hear one defensible position for a ball rollback...
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJS
@JS -

There has been plenty .. at least on here (and around the golf web). What is indefensible (in my opinion) is the "other way". At what point IS it too much? Never? "Cannot impede progress"? Unfortunately ... this is a sport; not society, science, finance .. or anything else where the structure cannot be controlled and shaped.

Golf is a sport - it should be treated as such. Mistakes obviously were made in the past .. maybe a "rollback" (spin/weight) and a club modification (smaller COR, etc.) for the pros are the best ideas to restore the game's integrity?

To be honest - I'm not sure why a few are so anti-golf that they detest this idea. I don't need a laser scope for my bow+arrow ... and I feel pretty good when hitting the bullseye.

I vote for bifurcation - then everybody can keep whatever crutches they deem necessary to help them around the course.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
I keep hearing golf is in trouble. If the ball rollback is across the board for pros and amateurs it will only serve to shrink the game on the amateur side.

A rollback for pros only will never happen because nobody will step up and pay for it. Imagine how much it will cost to keep pros around the globe in golf balls all year long.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

You think golf pros pay for golf balls now?? :)
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused
Seriously though Tiger is right. I spin my wedges WAY less than I used to. What's that all about?
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBernieinTampa
That screenshot of Tiger and DJ up there is one for the ages... Must be hot on the Bahamas?!
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterExilgolfer
So, in effect.
Tiger always played a spinny ball, giving up some distance, so making everybody move back works better for him.

DJ is athletically gifted, and believes a rollback will reward those who worked to hit it further, rewarding him.


Take 5% off the ball speed for everyone. Let the game sort itself out. It will bring 300 yard drives back to where "purists" are happier,
and according to the proponents, thats all that matters,. The TOUR must hit it shorter, because they define the game for the lemmings
So 5% for the average golfer doesn't matter
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
@P Thomas -

I think DJ was talking about guys who specifically are trying to be bombers (like him) .... so that not everybody (including someone who sucks) is getting a nice benefit from the distance boost.

It's why adding spin (and not just a distance "rollback") is so crucial ... the player in question will need to hit the middle of the clubface. I doubt all the current bombers will be able to accomplish that. It'll separate the wheat from the chaff, the gnatsht from the pepper - while also bringing more "rounded" players into the mix.

Sounds fair to me.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterConfused

In 1984 the whole world aside from US,Canada and Mexico lost 25 yards when it was forced to switch from the 1,62' ball to the 1.68' ball. It didn't shrink the game then and why would it now?
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
Absolutely Clayts=the world kept turning. Hope you have a good night with Carrers!
11.28.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Confused, grow up, dude. Your beef is that we review products, now? Oh, gee whiz. It should be unsettling to you how often you seem to be thinking about me.

And nobody's "right" or "wrong" on this. It's an opinion. I don't think we need to roll the ball back. PGA Tour pros are hitting it about the same distance as they hit it 10 years ago, and PGA Tour pros make up a ridiculously small portion of the market.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
hence the name Dunderhead
11.28.2017 | Unregistered Commenterajrcgy
Clayts, because we have to reign the pros in only...they make all of us lengthen courses and slow up play. The tour IS golf, so we must bring them back to earth,.......
If we roll the equipment back across the board, some golf business will be hurt, and that could cost sponsorships of sites like this, plus other overpriced indulgences.
We cannot change OUR playing of the game, we must change others, so we feel better about ourselves, while "doing the right thing for the game"

5% reduction and cap.....
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
I don't think amateurs would ever notice a difference. All our peak distance comes from hitting the center of the club, once every 10 shots.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDon

Erin Hills is massive, and some of the field still had short iron in hand all day long in the moat recent US Open.

Augusta National have purchased a public road, not to mention part of ACC, to lengthen their course.

Tees for TOC at the '15 Open were situated on the Himalayas, the nearby driving range, and the Eden, New and Jubilee courses.

You don't think there's a problem?
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatthewM
Every course has multiple tees for players who hit the ball different distances.
Instead of establishing tees back further, introduce a ball which goes less far for those who play off the very back tees now.
Only these players will use the new ball.
Nothing changes for everyone else.
Got it?
There is a huge problem as the previous poster points out. In addition to all the ridiculous lengthening he describes, there has been a growing disconnect between the pro and amateur games. I remember going to tour events in the '90s and knowing that once in a while, say 1 in 15 shots, I could hit it as far and as well as pros like Mark O'Meara or John Cook(not Daly or Tiger of course) did off the tee. It would never happen in one of a million shots now, all because the (mostly) ball technology has allowed the pros who are optimized and launch monitored and swing at a certain speed/mass combo(but not me) to hit it exponentially farther. I can't relate to their game at all. That connection that we've lost is critical. We need it back. The game itself needs it. We can have it if the ball is rolled back for pros-whether us amateurs are forced to as well or not-because it won't really matter much for us anyway.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
Matts response is honest.

He can't relate to players capable of maximizing their abilities so he wants them rolled back.

This covers bifurcation.
11.28.2017 | Unregistered CommenterP Thomas
While I understand bifurcation intentions, I worry about it's unintended consequences.

By the time they engineer a ball that backs-off the Pros 10-15%, will it cost the recreational player 25%. Once the new "Tournament Ball" is on the market and "Play what the Pro play..." marketing kicks-in, the recreational player will forced to compromise. R&D dollars follow the Tour Player, will the "recreational ball" be left to languish and fight for shelf-space as the Retailers follow the PGA Tour marketing?

Or worse, once the PGA Tour and the top-level USGA and NCAA tournaments mandate the "new" ball, how soon before that mandate creeps down the food chain to the recreational leagues? "Oh, we play what the 'real golfers' play...", meaning the Tour. Most golfers are mid-to-high handicappers, and we probably buy 99% of the golf balls. I don't want a "new" ball that turns my 200-yd drive into a 175-yd. mis-hit. Or can't be pitched onto a green and stay.
2 issues; the ugly stretching back of the tees and pros wedging everything in to soft greens. The 3 iron has been reduced to a driving club. Some of you so called experts who think the game has never been better have been duped by this " growing the game " look how great these guys are driving it 350 yards. In it for the money at all costs. Why frightened of a rollback ? Such moves have not made other sports stars less great than the stars of the past. They are only competing against the current crop. What they have done on the Road Hole is so unnecessary. 10 % rollback with some spin will enhance the game and bring back shotmaking. That is what sells. Seve. Tiger. They were not popular because they could drive it 300 yards.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterEasingwold
Interestingly the PGA tour has just released a video of 10 of Tiger's greatest shots on tour. Only one featured a wood. All the others were incredible short game feats, recovery shots and a couple he holed. Long driving is overrated for entertainment. @ Ted B-in the years we had both balls in use over here-and the rest of the world- not one amateur that didn't have to used the 1.68 ball. Didn't bother them one bit that the pros were using a different ball. Every set of irons I sell now is custom fit and the customer goes for what suits them best-the fact that Rory uses something else doesn't interest them one iota. Maybe that's a British thing.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered Commenterchico
"By the time they engineer a ball that backs-off the Pros 10-15%, will it cost the recreational player 25%."

Dead wrong. More like the opposite. If the ball was rolled back to '90s levels the recreational player would see negligible decline in distance and the pros would see the spring-like effects of their optimized swings rolled back more significantly. They could mitigate it somewhat through launch monitors but it still wouldn't be the same as they have it now. The Pro V-1 started all of this. If we all went back to the Titleist DT-90s, Maxflis and Slazengers of the '90s era, today's top pros might be a little bit longer than Fred Couples or Davis Love were then(thanks to all that great fitness training they've done) but it wouldn't be out of control like with modern equipment necessitating buying up more land to add 100 yards to tees.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
We need to look at the problems from a golfing prospective rather than our own very selfish point of view. Is it really in our remit to change the face of the game by trying to divide and rule, because that is just what bifurcation will achieve.

To split the game is in the end to change the very game we want to play – and why, simply because we refuse to face the very basic facts that so many modern players just don’t get it, don’t understand the very basics of the game of golf and are therefore willing to sacrifice the integrity that has been golf for the past 500 years.

To willingly go down the line of ‘bifurcation’ clearly show and defines those who propose it that their self interest and selfishness is ruling their opinions while having no real regard or care for a The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf.

The very fact that they refuse to even consider the real question of managing and controlling technology, seems to this golfer a declaration of their misunderstanding of just what is at stake and clear contempt for the very game they supposedly love and cherish. I would remind those so keen to introduce ‘bifurcation’ that there are other options available, which are way more golfing friendly.

However, I expect in the end ignorance will again reign supreme with the R&A and others all again willingly ‘bend a knee’ to split and divide golf, not for the better, but because of simple stupidity and cowardice to address the real issues facing the game head on.

If in the end The Govern Bodies refuse to understand to complexities of The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf why should we expect the majority of players (many who already show contempt for golf by using aids) to do so. Which brings me full circle back to the question of just how many get the game let alone understand The Royal & Ancient Game of Golf? I fear the answers is very few, very few indeed.

In closing, I am minded of a legal point of view that “Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat” (a rough translated ‘ignorance of the law excuses not’ or Ignorance of the law is no excise). Just replace the word Law with Golf and that put these issues totally in perspective.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
"Matts response is honest.

He can't relate to players capable of maximizing their abilities so he wants them rolled back."

Uh, no, but thanks for trying. I'm actually not wild about pros being the greater beneficiary of technology than amateurs who need it more. It has nothing to do with "maximizing their abilities." The top pros benefit disproportionately thanks to their high swing speeds and that advantage has been magnified-which is not a good thing. It dumbs down the game.

The difference between '90s O'Meara's game and mine has widened for no reason other than technology-the fact that he has been able to take advantage of stuff that I don't have a access to-optimization, a ball that goes exponentially farther than the balls from the '90s even given our same swing speeds, etc. The current pro game is not relatable to any fans. It's not even golf, to us. It's the RE-Max long drive challenge.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt
I must refer to my constant ''other sport''- drag racing. The drag race is traditionally 1/4 mile. When a major driver was tragically killed on an older, but historic track, a shorter one, with all sorts of things that went wrong, there were immediate changes, the most obvious being the shortening of the fuel cars, the ones that run on nitromethane, to only 1000 feet, thus slowing down the top speed, and allowing 320 more feet to stop.
these cars have rev limiters, as amazing as that sounds, and they are required to run a rear end ratio that keeps the speed down. Funny car were allowed 300 more RPM than Top Fuel cars. That extra 300 RPM created dozens of runs over 335MPH, with the topper being only .13 MPH- thats *point one three* slower than 340! 339.87 MPH- in 1000 feet!(3 blocks!) they are reducing the allowed RPM in 2018 by the 300 RPM to slow them down!

While lives are not at stake in golf, the rules are for the benefit of the sport-every benefit. Golf courses are constantly being sold for the real estate. Why does anyone think that the prospect of another 10-14% land use would eventually be an easy sell. Bifercation makes sense.~~dig~~
11.29.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I'm for bifurcation for a number of reasons:

1. The game Is really bifurcated already but course set-up and agronomy. When the USGA or PGATour feel they have to essentially take over a course for a few weeks or months to make it tournament "ready", they are establishing a playing field that does not really exist; fairways are hardened to maximize roll, greens go from really nice to almost perfect, the rough is "just so", etc. The pros are playing on course conditions that simply do not exist for the 99% of golfers.

2. Many courses have already been built or extended with tees that 97% of players, with the new balls and technology, should already "move up a tee" (wasn't that a slogan?). If the argument is for course maintenance costs why not roll back 20% or 30%?

3. The genie is already out of the bottle for most golfers. I looked in my closet and saw about 6 dozen Pro V's waiting to be played. How is the proposed new ball going to be rolled out so that most golfers, to the extent that give a damn anyway, play the new ball instead of the balls that perform better and already exist?
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterHBL
Matt, thanks for the chuckle.

You can't do what modern PGA Tour players do… because they're better. It's not because of the ball, it's because they now swing 15 MPH faster than you, or more.

John Cook, sure, he hit the center of the face far more often than you did, but he wasn't brought up in a sport where there were millions of dollars on the line, and he didn't have to compete against guys with 15 years of tournament experience when they cracked the PGA Tour at age 25.

You're dead wrong about the "exponential" benefit. If you draw a line plotting swing speed and carry yardage, assuming somewhat optimal launch conditions), the higher swings fall BELOW that line gradually. They get slightly LESS out of their swing speed than you do swinging your driver at 98 MPH.

"The difference between '90s O'Meara's game and mine has widened for no reason other than technology" - Bull. The modern golfer is swinging a hell of a lot faster.

Also, I don't think you know what the word "exponential" means…

HBL, the PGA Tour doesn't "take over" a course for months to prepare it. The USGA and R&A do. Most of what the PGA Tour does is to simply set up grandstands. There are a lot of courses in "PGA Tour-ready" shape throughout the year that don't host PGA Tour events. It's a weak "the game is already bifurcated" argument because fifty guys shooting 100 today are playing on courses that could host the PGA Tour tomorrow.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski

the first pro tournament I went to was the original Legends of Golf- they were almost all there- ( no Ben Hogan- a 200 mile drive for him)
On the 3rd hole, Bob Charles hit into a whited circomference'd area, and i asked a fellow observer why, and he said it was it looked like the fairways I had been playing! So yes, the bifurcation process has been going on a long time, when course conditions are considered! ~~dig~~
11.29.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth

Erin Hills is massive, and some of the field still had short iron in hand all day long in the moat recent US Open.

Augusta National have purchased a public road, not to mention part of ACC, to lengthen their course.

Tees for TOC at the '15 Open were situated on the Himalayas, the nearby driving range, and the Eden, New and Jubilee courses.

You don't think there's a problem?"


Erin HIlls was built for one host the US Open. Sort of excludes it from a sustainability conversation.

The other courses you mention actually host the top players regularly. The other 99.9% of courses going to these extremes have absolutely zero reason to do so. The sustainability argument falls apart right there. Each club is responsible to its own financials and these changes are unwarranted and unnecessary because the Tour is not coming to town.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJS
The Genie is already out of the bottle for most players perhaps, but if there is a will there is a way, clearly there is no will.

So we need to reflect on why, - why is there no will to re-engage with the game of golf , why is there this need for get help and assistance when playing. This need for assistance is not just destroying the game, commitments and the challenge of the game, it is also responsible for the lack of spirit while it has also engulfed much of the designs produced by many of the modern designers..

That is the real issue face today’s golf, the refusal to address the problems so that the total integrity of the game of golf in retained.

I have not been able to understand anyone who love something, to the point that they want to change it – but clearly its endemic with in golf, because all we have to do is look to the R&A (and others) and there Open course selection process – select a course then insist then require the club to make changes to the course.

The problem is there just is no will to retain The traditional game of golf. Today’s players are so far from the golfer of old yet mention that and many take offence. Why, its these would be golfers that have betrayed themselves and the game, not us traditional golfers, but suspect it’s their own underlying guilt, because when push comes to shove they are no match for the great golfer of the past. So if you can’t beat them stack the pack so you can – in my book that’s nothing short of betrayal and cheating, morally dishonest and downright cowardly – but then I suppose that defines many of the modern players.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Morris
I was going to say something but Erik covered it. Thanks!

One of the fun articles posted in here was the writer who played and did a little testing with persimmon and older irons versus new tech

I was not shocked he swing the shorter, heavier and smaller headed driver much slower

I WAS a little surprised the smash factor (optimization) wasn’t way more different

Bifurcation basically is about the best players hitting it too far for some. But longer courses for tournaments is wrong mostly due to spiraling costs and problems lengthening courses that do not have tour events but don’t have the self restraint to not play keep up.

For bifurcation fans. Why would you be against a overall roll back instead of changing the history of one set of rules. And yes I know that local rules and grooves rules are out there. But this a major change and some think they will be able to relate more, but in effect bifurcation means they will be playing a different game than you. Of course they already do I guess. They’re better than 99%++
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSpoilt
+1 Erik.

Wally sent a crystal clear signal that Titleist will not play ball as it relates to a rollback. Game over.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDale
The only real solution is to allow a selected 10 or 20 current balls to be used in PGA and top amateur events but to not allow any further improvements to the selected balls. For example, the current ProV1 would be allowed but if Titleist develops a new ProV1 that goes another 10 yards then it could only be used by recreational golfers. Each ball manufacturer could designate which of their current balls would become their "tournament" balls.

My golf club uses restricted flight balls at the driving range and who would want to watch a tournament being played with dead balls.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave
Dave, Titleist can't make a new Pro V1 that goes 10 yards farther. They can't make a ball that goes 1 yard further. All modern golf balls are at the limit of the ODS.
11.29.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski
Erik I'm not a golf ball engineer but it could be a new ball meets the Overall Distance Standard at a 109 mph clubhead speed but kills it if the clubhead speed is over 120 mph. To me, a freeze on new golf balls for the pros would be a start and would introduce the tournament ball concept. While a roll back in distance probably is not needed, it would be easier to tweak twenty tournament balls versus the entire industry.
11.30.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave
Dave, no. And the ODS includes a test for a clubhead going 120 MPH, too.
11.30.2017 | Unregistered CommenterErik J. Barzeski

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