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Golf leaders happy with average driving distance, won't make technological changes

Nov 3, 2015

  • ESPN.com news services

Now that the R&A and USGA have updated the latest edition for the Rules of Golf in 2016, don't look for any immediate changes in technology.

Martin Slumbers, who took over for Peter Dawson in September as chief executive of the R&A, says research from the tours indicates that the average distance off the tee has increased only 3 to 4 yards over the last 10 years."

"What we are seeing at the moment is a fairly consistent percentage of some tremendous athletes who are hitting the ball farther," Slumbers said at the HSBC Golf Business Forum. "The percentage of them is unchanged. The average is a lot less than what the media talk about. The average has only moved 3 to 4 yards in the last 10 years. There's no burning desire on our part to make any changes."

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem concurred. He said the professional game is "as strong as it's ever been."

"I do think if we get to a point where 75 percent of the field is hitting it whereDustin [Johnson] is and it gets a little boring, and we see signs of it affecting the integrity of the sport, it's a different matter," Finchem said. "Right now, I agree totally. We shouldn't do anything."

Slumbers also said distance "isn't getting out of control."

"It's a single-digit number of players who hit over 320 [yards]," he said. "The average is in the mid-280s -- this is run and carry. As long as it stays within those parameters, I'm celebrating skill."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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