Two reports on the same day from two different websites makes you wonder where professional golf is heading.
Two articles popped up on our golf feed this week: One from Golfweek with the headline “USGA and R&A’s Annual Driving Distance Report shows pros hit it farther in 2018“, the other from Golfworld titled “Augusta National lengthens fifth hole by 40 yards ahead of 2019 Masters“.
David Dusek’s piece at Golfweek summarizes the 2018 Annual Driving Distance Report released by the R&A and USGA:
While every tour saw a distance increase, the most significant year-over-year increase was the PGA Tour’s rise from 292.5 to 296.1 yards (1.2 percent). The smallest increase was on the LPGA, which went from 252.6 yards to 252.7 yards (0.1 percent).
The professional tour with the longest average driving distance was the Web.com Tour, which saw an increase of 2 yards in 2018 to 304.9 yards (0.7 percent).
And on the same day, Alex Myers at Golfweek reported that Augusta National have lengthened the 5th hole by 40 yards:
No. 5 is an interesting hole to lengthen considering it has played as the course’s fifth-most difficult hole in tournament history. Although 455 yards isn’t long by today’s standards, the uphill dogleg left around a pair of cavernous bunkers always played longer than the number, and was still the sixth-most difficult hole at last year’s Masters with a 4.16 scoring average.
Augusta National has recently purchased land from the neighbouring Augusta Country Club which sits along the boundary behind Amen Corner. Most golf pundits are expecting the famous par-5 13th to be lengthened in the coming years with the tee to be moved back outside the original boundary fence.
Bobby Jones is rolling in his grave.
We’re going to need huge expanses of land, and bucket loads of money to see the pros playing anything other than a wedge into the greens in future.
While St Andrews has already tried to combat the pros by lengthening The Old Course outside it’s original boundaries, it’s hard to see anything but incredibly low scores when The Open Championship returns to the home of golf in 2021.