Clayton on the golf ball rollback: “You’d think the world was going to end”

Despite being introduced to ensure the long-term stability of the sport, reaction to the news of golf ball rollback has been irrational, particularly in the US.

In a piece for Golf Australia Magazine, Mike Clayton talks about the reaction to the news that the R&A and USGA plan to place limitations on how far the golf ball can go with new rules coming into effect in 2028.

The primary aim of this initiative is to counteract the impact of increased hitting distances, particularly among professional and elite amateur golfers, and to ensure the long-term stability of the sport.

However, the reaction to the announcement, particularly from the golf community in the US has been hysterical. Something Clayton and Padraig Harrington pointed out.

You’d think the world was going to end judged by the reaction in the United States and the United States is primarily and inevitably where the debate is focused.

Padraig Harrington perhaps best summed the American problem when he said, recently: “It’s a distinctly different the reaction to the rollback in the United States than certainly in Ireland and in Europe. You guys hate the USGA. We actually love the R&A.”

Perhaps it’s the inherent mistrust or scepticism of government and its role in the United States but there is a widespread backlash against the administration taking perhaps up to 25 yards off the very longest drivers and incrementally less from the shorter hitters.

So little that most wouldn’t notice and if they do, well, move the tee markers up five yards.

Read the full piece over at Golf Australia Magazine.

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