Watson: "it's too late to do much now"

An unbylined Unison.ie story features Tom Watson's latest thoughts on the equipment issue.

The Great Man, hugely popular with the galleries wherever he plays, got up close and personal with some of the heavy hitters of the modern game and saw power unleashed that left him reeling in shock and awe - as in "aw crap, I'm too old for this stuff."

Watson knows what it's like to thump a ball a country mile down a fairway. In his day he asserted: "I was a long hitter," but conceded: "I saw a difference this week."

"During the week I played with Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen. I played with Brett Wetterich and with Chad Campbell, and these guys bomb it out there.

"I mean they're 80 yards ahead of me. I can understand people saying maybe the equipment has got too far ahead, but these guys swing the club a lot faster than I do.

"I'm out there waving at it, these guys are ripping at it. I just can't swing the club that fast.
Well Tom, they are younger than you too.
"What I think has happened also is that the ball has outgunned the R&A and the USGA.

"Back in 2001 a big jump happened then. The manufacturers played by the rules but the R&A and the USGA didn't have the rules in place to prevent the ball jumping ahead in distance.

"I think it's too late to do much now, but there are a few things they could do. One might be to reduce the size of the clubheads on the drivers, so you can't sling it with total abandon. With these drivers you can mis-hit the ball and still hit it a long way.

"Maybe they could get away from the square grooves so you can't spin the ball in the rough and put the old 'V' grooves back where you don't have the same control out of the rough.

"One thing I'm not in favour of is a special ball for tournament golf. I wouldn't like to see that. I like the competition between the manufacturers and it's good for the players."

So we know something happened a few years ago, we know it's bad, and we should correct other elements to compensate?