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Golf Australia Express : March 2013
It would seem this fine line between integrity and tradition is under the microscope, magnified by technological innovation that develops with boggling speed. In 2002, beset by a growing prevalence in GPS and distance- finding tools, the R&A amended rule 14-3 to allow for such equipment on the course under a local rule. For many, it was a positive sign— those of us who find it difficult to convince the ball to land on the fairway look to every possible aid that might help improve our game. Surely that’s not a bad thing. God knows golf is a difficult game that tries the patience of a saint, so why make it harder than it needs to be? If there’s something that can help, then bring it on. Right? Of course it’s not quite that simple where governing bodies are concerned. Should limits be placed on the game’s evolution, though? Courses designed in the past are struggling for relevance in a time when professional players hit the ball further each year. Since 2000, the average drive on the PGA Tour has stretched by almost 25 metres, and the voices calling for greater regulation of technological developments grow more insistent with every metre gained. Balls have come a long way since the original featherie and have been the subject of several reviews. Thirty years after the wound rubber ball was first used in professional competition (by the 1902 Open Championship winner Alex Herd), the Open champion’s average score had dropped by four strokes. There were many developments occurring during this time, and combined they created a trend towards improvement. Again, this does not, at first, seem to pose a problem, especially for weekend punters making the best of a tricky situation stuck behind a tree on the first. Help? Yes please. In August, Rory McIlroy delved into the fierce debate by saying technology played a key part in allowing, as he described them, “lesser players” to win major titles. He is one of 16 different players to win the past 16 majors. “I think 25 years ago you had the really good players that could play with basically anything and nowadays the technology lets maybe some of the lesser players catch up with the better players,” the world No.1 golfer said. Wonder if McIlroy now sees the irony in those comments? While some might argue it’s good to have an even playing field, the world No.1 is clearly not in agreement. In a 2005 article on his shark.com website, another former world No.1 McDowell loves performing in front of big crowds. Why wouldn't he when they love him back? GEAR the GEAR the " Te chnology lets maybe some of the lesser players catch up to the better players. And I think that's why you see so many more guys winning these days." —Rory McIlroy
April 2013-The Masters