MASTERS officials have warned golf’s rulers ‘if you won’t protect us from the monster hitters, we will!’
The green jackets say they will not let Bryson Dechambeau and the rest of the game’s power merchants turn Augusta into a pitch and putt course.
Masters chairman Fred Ridley admitted they are worried players such as DeChambeau – who insists Augusta is only a par 67 for him – could make the course obsolete before long.
Ridley said the distance players can hit a ball now, with DeChambeau flying it over 400 yards, means the game is ‘at a crossroads, and I think we are coming closer to a call for action’.
The R&A and the US Golf Association have been carrying out a joint study into whether the distance golf balls travel needs to be curbed.
They are due to publish their findings – and declare whether any action is needed – early next year.
Ridley insisted the Masters supports the game’s rulers – but said they also have the right to do whatever is needed if they do not agree with the joint report.
That could mean them introducing a Masters-only ball, something they have always been reluctant to discuss.
Ridley added: “I think we are at a crossroads relating to this issue. We have always been very supportive of the governing bodies; and we will continue to be supportive.
“We think that it's good that the game of golf is governed by the USGA and The Q&A. We think they are great stewards of the game.
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“And I'm hopeful about the work and the studies that have been ongoing for some time. I understand that in April there's to be some sort of publication of their conclusions.
“But all I can say is that, as it relates to our golf course, we have options, and we will take the necessary action to make sure we stay relevant.
“Augusta National does play long for most of the players, other than a few – but I think that few is becoming a larger group all the time.
“We can make changes, but not every golf course can. Having said that, there’s a balance to strike, because obviously you don't want to make the game harder for everyone.
“On one hand we want to say we want to grow the game, and on the other hand we're saying we're worried about distance.
I think everybody just has got to get their head together and figure it out.”
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