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Woods: Distance a priority 20 years in the past

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"The guys are figuring out how to carry the ball over three hundred and fifty yards, and it's not just some of them. There are a lot of people who can and that's where the game goes."

Last update: 10/21/20 12:33 AM

Tiger Woods sees no quick fix to the distance debate

Cannot foresee a quick fix to golf distance problems, Tiger Woods admitted that sports authorities "should have been concerned a long time ago."

The distance debate was one of the hottest topics in golf this year. Many observers – and gamers – have expressed concerns about the ever increasing distances being reached, particularly by Bryson DeChambeau.

DeChambeau took precedence over accuracy at the US Open in Winged Foot last month, and his aggressive strategy paid off as he stormed to a six-shot win and became the only man in a 72nd place described by Woods as one of 72 Holes under par completed the three toughest layouts of the Major Rota.

Bryson DeChambeau's power tactic paid off at the US Open

Bryson DeChambeau's power tactic paid off at the US Open

Concerns about the direction the game is headed have been heightened by tactics from a crowded DeChambeau who is currently testing a new driver with a 48-inch shaft that could take him to unprecedented distances from the tee at the next Masters month.

R&A and USGA released a Distance Insights Report in February in which the sport's two largest governing bodies proposed various measures to contain the new generation of power players. However, Woods believes the problems should have been addressed years ago.

"You should have been concerned a long time ago, but the ghost is out of the bag now," Woods said ahead of this week's Zozo Championship in California, where he will defend the title he won in Japan last October.

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"It's about what we can do in the future and how fast they can do it, but I don't know if you're going to stop the guys who are there right now. The guys are figuring out how to carry the ball 320-plus yards, and it's not just some of them.

"There are a lot of people who can do that, and that's where the game is going. There will only be a small amount of property that we can do, where we can change golf courses.

"I just don't see how they can roll it all back. I would love to see this as far as our game goes, but then we go back the way, what you share, at what level?

Woods is defending the Zozo Championship this week

Woods is defending the Zozo Championship this week

"So this is a long discussion that we have had for a few years, over 20 years, and I think it will only go on.

"Distance has always been an asset. Now that we have the tools, which is the launch monitor, the customization of the golf clubs, the adjustability. I think all of this helps you maximize a driver's skills.

"There's no reason you can't take more by the meter, and the guys did that. They changed the shafts, they changed the lofts, they changed the weights on their heads and the lengths of the clubs.

Woods could add the Houston Open to his pre-Masters buildup

Woods could add the Houston Open to his pre-Masters buildup

"Driving is such a big part of the game and it's so beneficial to be able to get the ball out of there. It just makes the game so much easier."

Woods is only starting the year for the eighth time at Sherwood Country Club, where he hosted the Hero World Challenge 14 times and won five of them. He hinted that he could possibly add the Houston Open to his schedule to give him additional competition in the championship defense at Augusta National.

"I think my plan is just to play and practice," he added. "I don't know if I'll play Houston or not. I won't play next week and we'll see how this week goes and make a decision from there."

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"It's usually not that time of year, and it's usually not played that way, the configuration of events. We're not in a Florida swing. It's all different. The whole year has been different for all of us. The fact that the Das Masters will be held in November, it's unprecedented and never been done before.

"I can't simulate the normal ramp-up that I normally have, and I don't think anyone else can either. It will be different for all of us. The fact that we have no spectators will visually be very different for for many of us it will be the way we normally play practice rounds when we go out there.

"And my preparation for Augusta is unlike anything I've ever experienced. That's the way it is. The whole idea is to be ready in a couple of weeks and whether or not this is another event, whether or not this is Houston I'm just playing here at Zozo and just making sure I'm ready for Augusta. "

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Steven Gregory