The USA Today's Jerry Potter interviews Tim Finchem about the state of the Tour and the game. It's pretty dull, except this bit on technology.
Q: A question now about technology. It's a big issue. I know you guys have done a lot of research on that through ShotLink. There are people saying they should roll back the golf ball, make other changes. Do you have any information now that will give you a better idea about how you should react to this?
A: I think we're not ready to pull the trigger on that decision just yet. The USGA is experimenting with some new golf balls that actually do that, or are intended to do that, to curb distance a little bit. We'll see where they go with that work.
Now, if I'm not mistaken, the USGA scoffed at the accuracy of Frank Hannigan's 2004 "Miracle Ball" exclusive. The USGA/R&A have said they were collecting balls for study, yet Dick Rugge has said that the USGA does not believe the ball should be rolled back. And the USGA has said that they nor the R&A have received rolled back balls from manufacturers for study.
Yet the commissioner says they are experimenting? Encouraging if true. Continue...
The other changes that have been made to revise the overall distance standard, and put a limit on what happens with the configuration of the face of the golf club, and things of that nature we think have had a good effect. I do think that we need to continue to look at distance. We're meeting with the other elements of the industry — the USGA, the R&A, Augusta National, the PGA — on a regular basis. And we recognize that regardless of what you do with limits on equipment, the players continue to get bigger and stronger. ... And even if you don't do anything at all with equipment to enhance it further, which I don't think will happen, that athleticism that's coming into the sport is going to continue to create a situation that these golf courses are challenged in ways that they haven't been in the past. It forces us to set them up in different ways, which in some cases may not be advantageous. So it's something we've got to look carefully at.
Not sure what you all think, but Finchem was much more clear two years ago:
"There is some point -- nobody knows where it is -- when the amateur player feels divorced and really doesn't appreciate the game at this level, just because it's so different that it doesn't become particularly relevant," Finchem told the Palm Beach Post. "The second thing is, if everybody is driving every par 4, it's not particularly interesting to watch.
"We are anxious, because we are continuing to see some distance enhancements in a short period of time. Unless something happens, we may have to move toward bifurcating the equipment specs for amateurs and professionals. In that case, we would be more involved."