Tiger Woods is the biggest name in the sport of Golf and it’s not even close. When Tiger talks, people listen.
Sometimes, Tiger Woods‘ words carry so much weight his quotes from years ago get brought back out to settle present-day arguments. Case in point, a 2017 Tiger Woods quote about golf ball distance and the need for change.
In recent days, the USGA and R&A have proposed rule changes that would limit the types of golf balls professionals can use. The overarching goal of the changes would be to shorten the distance pros can drive the ball and, in turn, prioritize precision and shot-making.
Talk of ‘shortening’ the game of golf by imposing restrictions on the ball is not new. CBS Sports columnist Kyle Porter shared a 2017 quote from Tiger Woods that has resurfaced and gone viral again:
"We've had to lengthen so many golf courses now, and eventually you're going to run out of property. Some of the older golf courses, we're going to lose them.
"I see no reason why we can't be like baseball and have a line of demarcation between college or amateur and the… https://t.co/dBzsyJu5BB
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 16, 2023
This Tiger Woods quote comes from the 2017 Hero World Challenge. At that time, Big Cat was ‘adamant about his position’ that change was needed to limit distance off the tee.
At that time, Dustin Johnson (now on the LIV Golf Tour), agreed with Tiger. DJ actually seemed to think that forcing all pros to play the same ball might help longer hitters.
Johnson said “there should be some kind of advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that is needed. Having a same ball that everyone plays … you’re going to have more of an advantage.”
At that time (in 2017), Tiger reiterated that the changes should be specific to pros. Saying “even if you played a pro-member you would have a reduced-flight ball for the pro, and have to play with that type of ball, where as the amateur, go ahead and make it fun, juice the golf balls up, juice the clubs up and let them go have a great time.”
Porter’s tweet above about the 2017 Tiger Woods quote has been seen over half a million times on Twitter.
Many replies echo the common sentiment that it won’t affect amateurs so 99.999% of the golf world shouldn’t care:
I don't even understand why amateurs are upset by this. Is it going to hinder your enjoyment of playing that much if you know that your ProV1x isn't the exact same compound that Thomas and Spieth play?
— E.B. Beaumont (@CoachBeaumont) March 16, 2023
If we’re being perfectly honest, the majority of golfers wouldn’t even be able to tell you the difference between two new golf balls on the course.
Why would this be fun? Every golf course would follow suit:
Keep the ball the same. But every tour event should set up its course like a U.S. Open. Colonial should have 6 inch rough and rock hard greens. If these guys want to bomb it, make them pay for wayward drives. Every week. Not a few times a year.
— P1 Macho Nadal (@MessicanDracula) March 16, 2023
Everything will be fine:
This feels a lot like when every bar owner swore banning smoking was going to crush their business. It will be okay in the end. Perhaps we even get to see courses like Myopia or Inverness get a major again.
— Jason Eiseman (@Eize50) March 16, 2023
The biggest change to golf would probably be on the manufacturing side. It would, inevitably, lead to some golf ball manufacturers seeing drastically reduced sales. But that shouldn’t impact the USGA’s decision.