The Forecaddie: Greg Norman makes call for whole new ball game

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The Forecaddie: Greg Norman makes call for whole new ball game

Forecaddie

The Forecaddie: Greg Norman makes call for whole new ball game

Persimmon drivers and steel shafts ruled the tee box when Greg Norman turned pro, but by the time the Australian made his last serious run at a major, at the 2007 British Open at Royal Birkdale, oversized titanium drivers and graphite shafts were in every player’s bag.

With that unique perspective in mind, The Man Out Front was not surprised to hear Norman, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001, can be counted as one of the growing number of big names, including Tiger Woods, who think distance and technological advancements have been detrimental to the pro game.

“With all due respect to Tiger, some of us have been saying that since 1996,” Norman said while attending the recent PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.

The two-time major winner laments that modern golf balls and drivers force championship courses to be lengthened and said it all could have been avoided.

“Augusta National was the only institution that could have stopped this change, by saying, ‘If you want to come play Augusta National, we’re not going to change our golf course. Go to your golf ball manufacturer and say that this is the specification golf ball you will use to play in our Masters,’ and nothing would have happened. Everybody would have played with that specification golf ball and the course would have stayed around 7,200 yards.”

Norman does not want recreational players to be punished by rules that might be implemented to rein in the pros. He’s firmly a proponent of bifurcation.

“Never stop technology for the masses,” the Shark said. “Let the millions of people out there who shoot 130 and still lose six balls a round into the water and three-putt six times feel like they can hit the ball 30 yards farther. Give ‘em that, but completely put the shackles on us, because we are the best.” Gwk

(Note: This story appears in the Jan. 29 2018 issue of Golfweek)

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