Why this three-time Major winner prefers a ball rollback: “So many benefits”
The golfing world is in excitement as it absorbs the news of the USGA and R&A’s latest proposal to include a model local rule that would introduce a split in the rules for elite and recreational players when it comes to the golf ball.
The rule would be implemented as early as 2026 and would require the use of golf balls tested under modified launch conditions to limit the impact of distance gains, which the USGA says has been increasing by an average of one yard per year for the last two decades. Both the USGA and R&A believe that distance gains, if left unchecked, threaten the long-term sustainability of golf and undermine the importance of developing a well-rounded game.
While it remains to be seen how the proposal will play out – and which tours, if any, will adopt the rule – there is at least one high-profile player who likes the idea: three-time grand prize winner and soon-to-be World Golf Hall of Famer Padraig Harrington.
“There are so many winners when you roll back the ball or roll back the equipment,” Harrington said Tuesday during an appearance on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. “In terms of cost – the cost of building a golf course, the cost of maintaining a golf course, the speed of play is incredibly improved by reducing distance, by reducing the size of the golf course and also the amount of wait time for par -5s and par 4s.
“There are so many benefits to rolling back. Old golf courses come back into play, great golf courses come back into play. Environmentally friendly, reducing footprint. So many reasons to reset it. Dangerous! It’s really dangerous. Golf balls go that far.”
Harrington led last year’s PGA Tour champions in averaging 308.7 yards from tee – more than 10 yards ahead of closest competitor Scott McCarron.
Harrington said he felt the rollback rule only needed to be implemented in warm weather conditions and that it favored a certain type of player.
“I would say the golf ball only works when it’s warm. You don’t have to roll the ball back in Ireland in the winter, I can guarantee that,” he said. “It’s a big advantage for the long hitters to roll the ball back. Huge benefit. It makes a huge difference. They still have their edge, but when they’re trying to carry the ball 300 yards, it’s easier to keep it on the property. So it will be easier for the long hitters, no doubt about that. And it will put more emphasis on callback speed. And there will only be one more race to the top for manufacturers. Competition is a good thing for all these manufacturers.”
Harrington plays a Titleist ProV1 ball made by Acushnet. In a press release sent Tuesday morning, Acushnet said it did not endorse the proposed rollback, that it would “cause confusion” and that players “would be disadvantaged by this disruption compared to others.”
It’s a touchy subject. Good thing there’s still time to sort it out.
https://golf.com/news/three-time-major-winner-supports-ball-rollback/ Why this three-time Major winner prefers a ball rollback: “So many benefits”