Jack Nicklaus says USGA’s Mike Davis assured him governing bodies are “getting closer” to addressing distance concerns

February 21, 2018

Jack Nicklaus has long supported introducing a reduced-flight ball in professional golf. More recently USGA chief Mike Davis has voiced his own concerns about how the power surge is impacting the game.

So it’s no surprise that when the two had dinner Sunday evening, the distance debate came up.  

“We’re getting there. We’re going to get there,” Davis told Nicklaus, according to Nicklaus’s recounting of the conversation at the Honda Classic Tuesday. “I need your help when we get there.”

“I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you,'” Nicklaus said, before quipping, “I assume you’re going to study for another 10 years or so, though.

“He says, “Oh, no, no, no. We’re not going to do that.” He says, ‘I think we’re getting closer to agreements with the R&A and be able to do some things and be able to help.’ Because the R&A has been — sort of doesn’t want to do anything. I’m hoping that’s going to happen. I’ve talked to Mike a lot. Mike’s been very optimistic about wanting to get something done but hasn’t been able to get there yet.”

When asked about Davis’s remarks and what kind of agreements might be forthcoming from the governing bodies, USGA spokesperson Janeen Driscoll said in an e-mail Wednesday morning that the association “doesn’t comment on private conversations.” She added that the USGA and R&A “have a strong partnership and will be releasing the [annual] distance report and sharing our collective view on next steps in the coming weeks.”

Nicklaus says he would see like to see a ball in the pro game that flies about 80 percent as far as the modern ball.  

“If you bring it back 20 percent, that will bring it back to about what it was in about 1995 when we last played a wound golf ball,” he said.