I remember the days when now-retired Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein's arguments were a little stronger and resonated with more folks. Perhaps there are simply more people who've seen professional golf bog down, become less interesting and less relatable thanks to the modern ball.
Anyway, Rick Young caught up with Uihlein to get his take on Jack Nicklaus' recent remarks about Titleist and the "golf ball goes too far nonsense." And of course, it's all about the Vancouver Protocol.
“Mike Davis has not told us (Acushnet) that he is close (there is the Vancouver Protocol of 2011 that we had assumed was in force) and he has not asked us for help if and when he gets there,” said Uihlein.
*Note: The Vancouver Protocol was a document that came out of a closed-door USGA and R&A forum with equipment manufacturers in Vancouver back in November, 2011. It was meant to assist with transparency to any proposed equipment rules changes or testing procedures while allowing participation of the OEM’s to the process.
Slow down there Wally, we haven't even gotten the distance report yet! This is fun:
“It appears from the press conference that Mr. Nicklaus was blaming slow play on technology and the golf ball in particular,” he said. “I don’t think anyone in the world believes that the golf ball has contributed to the game’s pace of play issues.”
Actually, anyone who has watched great players stand around in a fairway on a par-5 or back up on a drivable par-4 tee that was once not drivable, they blame distance gains.
This really isn't a very sharp point, either.
“There are no golf courses being closed due to the advent of evolving technology,” Uihlein said. “There is no talk from the PGA Tour and its players about technology making their commercial product less attractive. Quite the opposite, the PGA Tour revenues are at record levels. The PGA of America is not asking for a roll back of technology. The game’s every day player is not advocating a roll back of technology.”
Record revenue! Maybe Titleist can sponsor one of the available tour events? There are three!
Also, Bubba Watson recently opened eyes as he is prone to do when showing people how much fun the game is when a great player manipulates the ball. In his case, a Titleist again! But he's now an anomaly. Wouldn't it be fun to see more like him?
Ultimately though, this is all the fault of you know how? Da medja!
“Perhaps the media,” he said, “should be asking, ‘If there is a problem, what is the problem?’”
I wonder why the media has spent so little time asking, discussing and analyzing the issue? It's a mystery!