Gary Player fears Old Course has become obsolete

Bernie McGuire
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Gary Player fears Old Course has become obsolete

Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus at the First Tee ceremony at the Masters. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Nine-time Major winning Gary Player is concerned the famed Old Course has become ‘obsolete’ given the distance the golf ball is now being driven.

Player, who won one three Open Championships, was commenting on the impact Bryson DeChambeau has had on the game since the lockdown to golf was lifted.

In capturing the recent Rocket Mortgage Classic, DeChambeau’s driving average stood at over 350-yards during the four days in Detroit.

Player said: “Something has to be done and it’s very simple. Just cut the ball back 50-yards.

“It’s just so sad that you think of the Home of Golf and the great place that is St. Andrews, and that we all love and adore, but the course is obsolete. It is now just so obsolete.

“For goodness sake, you have people teeing-up on the Old Course that can drive eight to nine greens. I don’t know where we are going. We just have to stop the ball professional-wise and leave if for the amateurs otherwise we must accept it.

“If that’s what they want then fine but I don’t think that average golfer wants to see that, at all. They want to see a long iron hit into the green. They want to see someone stand on the tee knowing they must hit it straight to avoid any trouble. They don’t want to see a slogging match.

“It’s just crazy to see what’s happening.

“When you look at Bryson, he’s Mickey Mouse compared to what is coming along. We could see players in the future hitting the ball 500-yards. There’s no telling where it’s going. I have been saying this for ages.

“Jack and Arnold used to laugh at me saying I was crazy to be doing all this weight training. What are you doing it for? Well, Arnold at my age could not break 95 on a lot of the golf courses and Jack can’t break 80 whereas I am shooting 69s and 72s because of the weight-training and, of course, a lot of other things you need to do for longevity.

“You look at a Rolls Royce and you love it for longevity. So, in this game, to me, I am proud I won a tournament at age 63 and that gave me great joy as I worked it. And when I took to the Senior Tour I became the only golfer to win the Grand Slam on both tours because I worked so hard.”

The now 84-year old Player was speaking after being appointed an ambassador for the Wentworth Club in Surrey, where he captured five World Match-Play titles.

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