• Distance debate: Sir Nick has an idea

    Tiger Woods
    Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo at the 1997 Masters

    Sir Nick Faldo, winner of multiple Majors, has weighed in on the distance debate that continues to drag on in the modern game.

    Speaking on the Shack Show podcast, the six-time Major winner said:

    ‘Back in persimmon days and balata ball, there were only a handful of really great drivers.

    ‘Greg [Norman] was great, and Jack [Nicklaus], [Lee] Trevino, [Tom] Watson, Seve [Ballesteros]. I know it went sideways at times, but you can name them. It was only a dozen max.

    ‘Now there are only a dozen poor drivers. There’s only a few. I hate to think of the percentage who can hit it 300 through the air.’

    Faldo’s solution unfolds in two phases.

    ‘If we brought the size of the face down so there were some serious mishits – so the sweet spot for the pro is a real sweet spot, not a sweet face. That’s what it is now, it’s the whole thing. The other, simpler way is if we ban tee pegs.

    ‘If they went and played a tournament with no tee pegs, [they] would have to alter their driver.

    ‘[They] would be allowed to place it on the grass [so] now they won’t be using [drivers that are] six degrees.

    ‘They’d say, “OK, I need nine, I need 10, I need one that’s going to get it airborne and get a bit of give in the face.” That would seriously change it.

    ‘Sure, they could hit a 3-wood – that actually would be your optimum. I’ve just seen Rory [McIlroy]’s numbers, still 285 yards through the air [with a 3-wood]. But it’d be a real tough hit to get a driver off the deck.’

    Photo: Sam Greenwood/PGA TOUR Archive

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