Bryson DeChambeau could be stopped from using 48-inch driver in the Masters

Game’s governing bodies want to break the ‘ever-increasing cycle of hitting distance’

Bryson DeChambeau tees off during the final round of the 2020 US Masters. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty

Bryson DeChambeau tees off during the final round of the 2020 US Masters. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty

 

Bryson DeChambeau could be prevented from using a 48-inch driver in April’s Masters in the latest step in golf’s long-running distance debate.

DeChambeau, who won his first major title at last year’s US Open, has been experimenting with such clubs in a bid to gain yet more length off the tee.

However, the game’s governing bodies want to break the “ever-increasing cycle of hitting distance” and are now seeking feedback from manufacturers on three proposals related to equipment standards.

Two of the proposals deal with testing protocols for clubs and balls and are open to comments until August 2nd, but the third is the adoption of a “Model Local Rule that would provide flexibility for committees, if they so choose, to limit the maximum length for clubs other than putters from 48 to 46 inches”.

The deadline for comments on that proposal is March 4th, exactly five weeks before the Masters is due to get under way at Augusta National.

The R&A and USGA’s Distance Insights Project (DIP) had been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic but R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “We are now able to progress with the work on this critical topic and are beginning the next phase as expeditiously as possible.

“The research topics and the proposed changes we have announced will be the focus of our attention in the coming months and we look forward to gaining insights from the golf industry and fully understanding their perspectives on these key areas.

“We remain fully committed to conducting this hugely important exercise for the sport thoroughly, efficiently and collaboratively.”

USGA chief executive Mike Davis added: “The research conducted through Distance Insights clearly shows that hitting distances have consistently increased through time and, if left unchecked, could threaten the long-term future of our game at every level and every golf course on which it is played.

“This is the first forward step in a journey and a responsibility the USGA and the R&A share with the worldwide golf community, to ensure that golf continues to thrive for the next hundred years and beyond.”

DeChambeau had considered using a 48-inch driver in November’s Masters but decided he was not “100 per cent ready” and used a 45-inch club as he finished in a tie for 34th.

But given that he has already been hitting the ball prodigious distances, including an extraordinary drive in practice which flew 403.1 yards in the air, the 27-year-old may not be too concerned by the proposed restrictions.

It should also be noted that the R&A and USGA said the proposals were the outcome of their regular review of equipment testing processes, protocols and standards and “were not conceived and are not intended to be solutions to the distance issues identified in the Distance Insights Report”.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.