R&A CEO Martin Slumbers has addressed the Bryson DeChambeau ‘extra distance’ phenomenon with concern indicating one half of golf’s ruling body will be ‘seriously addressing’ the issue.
DeChambeau’s remarkable distance off the tee since the return of the PGA Tour to competition has been the major talking point among not only his fellow competitors but the golfing public alike.
The now ‘Hulk Hogan’ look-alike sent one drive all of 427-yards during the Charles Schwab Challenge and then in capturing the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the 26-year old American lived-up to the sponsors name averaging ‘rocket’ drives over 350-yards during his four rounds in Detroit.
DeChambeau’s beefed-up appearance and his now ‘out of this world’ distance off the tee comes just months after both the R&A and the USGA issued their joint ‘Distance Insight Project’ that seeks to curb the distance the ball is being hit off the tee.
One thing is certain, a copy of the R&A and USGA’s findings was not sent to the DeChambeau residence
“It’s a topic I feel very strongly about,” Slumbers said in speaking with the Daily Mail.
“It’s our responsibility, as a governing body, to have a view on the broad implications of the subject. We published our report, along with the USGA in February, and it said we needed to put a line in the sand and come back—because we think it’s gone too far.
“My view is very much that golf is a game of skill. It’s important to have a balance of skill and technology.”
The R&A and USGA had been all set to release the second part of the Distance Insights Project this Spring, but it has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Slumbers indicated to the newspaper the release will still happen once the golf industry, and world, has a chance to stabilise.
“It’s all been put on hold because the world has a lot more to worry about. And we were conscious of the golf industry having the time to recover,” Slumbers added.
“But we will bring that topic back—because it does need to be discussed.
“Once we feel that the industry is stable again, which isn’t going to be tomorrow, because we don’t know what’s going to happen over autumn and winter, we will be coming back to that issue in great seriousness.”
And while Slumbers revealed he’s been fascinated by DeChambeau and his accomplishments, it will not stop Slumbers leading the drive to curb distance.
“I’m not sure I can remember another sportsman, in any sport, so fundamentally changing their physical shape,” said Slumbers.
“I can’t think of anyone. I’m thinking of some boxers because I love boxing.
“But what is extraordinary is that Bryson isn’t the first one to put on muscle in golf. How he’s able to control the ball, with that extra power, is extraordinary. All credit to him, he’s a true athlete.
“But I still come back to the belief that golf is a game of skill. And we believe we need to get this balance of skill and technology right.”
And DeChambeau returns to competition this week following a week off post his victory in Detroit and tee-up in the Memorial, an event he captured in 2018.