March 31, 2023
USGA and R&A proposal to limit distance in elite golf is not intended to impact women

USGA and R&A proposal to limit distance in elite golf is not intended to impact women

It would be hard to find anyone who believes there is a distance problem in women’s golf. That includes governing bodies, too, as the USGA and R&A made it clear at Tuesday’s press conference that the model local rule intended to reduce distance at the highest levels of men’s golf will not apply to women’s players. elite or recreational players.

Governing bodies have proposed the use of modified golf balls to reduce hitting distances by an average of 14 to 15 yards for the longest hitters with the highest clubhead speeds. The Model Local Rule (MLR) would give organizers of competitions, such as the LPGA and Ladies European Tour, the option to implement.

“You are certainly seeing changes in the women’s game where more power and longer distances are being introduced than five years ago,” said Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A. “But, at the moment, there is a lot of free space on the golf courses that we have for the women’s game.

“Therefore, we would not intend to make any application of this rule to elite women’s golf at this time.”

The R&A, of course, runs the AIG Women’s British Open, while the USGA runs the US Women’s Open.

Mike Whan, current USGA CEO and former LPGA commissioner, echoed Slumbers’ thoughts, adding: “Whether or not they implement this now, as in all cases, is their decision, but this would provide long-term options.” term, and I think in the long term. we will be delighted that this option is available.”

While 83 players on the PGA Tour averaged 300 yards or more off the tee this season, last year no player on the LPGA averaged 280 or more. Maria Fassi led the tour last year with an average of 279,250.

As the USGA and R&A continue to have industry-wide discussions on the issue, the proposal, if adopted, would not take effect until January 1, 2026.

The LPGA offered the following statement on the USGA announcement:

“The LPGA appreciates the leadership and stewardship of the USGA and The R&A on a variety of issues, including distance. At this time, we don’t see distance as an obstacle to the growth of the LPGA Tour or the fields in which we can compete. We intend to explore and examine this proposal during the comment period and beyond from all angles. As always, we will act in accordance with what is best for our players, our partners, our Tour, our fans and women’s football in general. We are committed to ensuring that the golf course is a fair place for all, and our focus will be to help grow the women’s game and provide equal opportunities for girls and women of all ages.”

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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