Date: November 21, 2017
Author: Martin Blake

Ball must be wound back: Ogilvy


Geoff Ogilvy has used a baseball stadium analogy for what the soaring golf ball has done to established golf courses, and it is not pretty.

The 2010 Australian Open champion said baseball was forced to act, and that golf would be the same soon enough.

“Major league baseball in America they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters. We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy’s comments come as the law-makers, the R and A and the United States Golf Association, ponder changes to the ball and a growing chorus of authority figures from Jack Nicklaus to Gary Player and Tiger Woods call for the ball to be wound back.

The USGA’s Mike Davis was quoted this week as saying it was “horrible’’ what had happened to older golf courses around the world as a result of the manufacturers producing balls that do not spin as much and fly much farther.

Ogilvy believes that a wind-back in the technology is coming, although he sees it as “a challenge’’ to the manufacturers to make a ball that does not soar so much for a professional-level player, but does not nobble the amateur.

But the 2006 US Open champion left no doubt about his thoughts, saying a “time-out’’ was needed to rethink. “It’s complete nonsense. In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’