Nicklaus expects big-hitting restrictions

·2-min read

Jack Nicklaus thinks that golf's rulers are close to restricting how far the ball can travel as the game's long-running distance debate rumbles on.

The next stage of the R&A and USGA's Distance Insights Project (DIP) has been delayed until March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the topic continues to dominate the agenda, largely thanks to the incredible distances being achieved by US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Speaking after performing his traditional role as honorary starter at the 84th Masters alongside Gary Player, Nicklaus said: "I believe that they will bring the golf ball back.

"I believe that they probably would have brought it back this year if it wasn't for COVID, or at least they would have thought about it or got serious about bringing it back.

"It's always been an issue. I think that if we had unlimited land and we had unlimited resources, then I don't think it really makes a whole lot of difference. There's not many places that have that.

"I'm not saying Augusta is unlimited, but Augusta is the only golf course that I know in the world that's been able to keep up with the changes in equipment. But nobody else has the land or really has the ability to afford to do that.

"They have to make some changes with it, otherwise all the old golf courses, all the strategy and everything else that you've had on golf courses is gone. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever."

Nicklaus believes the governing bodies are not in favour of "bifurcation", whereby professionals and elite amateurs would have to use different equipment to recreational golfers.

"They don't want to bifurcate golf balls," Nicklaus said. "I don't know what they're developing, I haven't been privy to that.

"But my guess is they're developing a golf ball that the faster the club head speed, the progression is less as you go down.

"In other words, a progression working down so the average golfer is not hurt, but you try to rein in the longer hitters so you're not ruining every golf course that's there."