Ask the Secretary

ra_header_title.jpgThe Guardian offered readers a chance to email questions to R&A Secretary Peter Dawson. As you can imagine, the answers are spellbinding. Dawson is getting better at answering the technology questions. Like his counterpart in the States, he can rationalize with the best. But sorry, no baseball analogies.

Should something be done to prevent technology's influence on the game? - Neal Walker Coventry

Modern equipment has certainly helped golfers of all abilities to improve their performance and this is generally to be welcomed. At top level, skill remains the dominant factor in achieving success, as evidenced by the fact that the same players - Tiger, Vijay, Ernie, etc - consistently head the rankings. If technology had taken over, then this would not be happening. Clearly, there could come a point where technology renders courses too easy and the challenge of the game is diminished. It is the responsibility of the R&A and the United States Golf Association to ensure that this does not occur by setting the equipment rules to limit the impact of technology. Course set-up, of course, has a part to play as well.

So like, if Ernie and Tiger and Vijay start to not consistently "head the rankings" (and what great rankings they are), then that could be a possible reason to consider that technology has overtaken skill?

You have tolove the stuff where Dawson and his U.S. counterpart talk about how technology has made the game easier and that's a good thing. But that they are prepared to step in when it becomes too easy and they are monitoring that closely. But how will they gauge that?

Someday they'll understand that it's not about hard or easy, but instead, how the game is played and what elements of skill somehow got the sport to this point (and why some of those elements were worth protecting). But they would have to understand what those elements were, wouldn't they?