Just leave it alone,’ says Lee Trevino of golf-ball rollback. Golf legend and six-time major champion Lee Trevino is known for expressing strong opinions, and he didn’t hold back during a recent appearance on GOLF’s Subpar podcast with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. The conversation naturally turned to this contentious issue with the USGA and R&A’s recent announcement of plans to limit golf-ball distance for all players.
Trevino, never one to shy away, provided a comprehensive explanation for his opposition to the proposed golf-ball rollback, laced with his trademark humor. He expressed mixed emotions about the current efforts, stating, “They’re a little bit upset about… they’re thinking that the golf courses are not long enough.”
Contrary to the belief that the golf ball is the primary culprit, Trevino pinpointed two significant factors contributing to the increased distance in golf: the physical size and strength of modern professional golfers and advancements in golf club designs. He humorously remarked, “These guys are trained, they’re bigger, they don’t have any fat on them like me. They’re bigger guys, they’re taller, they hit it so far.”
Highlighting the impact of club design, Trevino explained that manufacturers have crafted clubs with less loft, coupled with a trampoline effect due to the hollow structure, leading to higher and longer shots. He argued against lengthening golf courses, emphasizing that such measures primarily affect recreational golfers rather than professionals.
Using a hypothetical scenario involving tennis, Trevino questioned whether other sports would adopt similar measures to level the playing field. He quipped, “I’m just wondering now, are they going to do this with tennis also? Because the guys are too good, are they going to put chairs on his side of the court? I think they should leave a good thing alone.”
Trevino dismissed the notion that increased distance is a significant issue for professional golfers, emphasizing its relativity. He insisted that attempts to bring the ball back or make other changes are unnecessary, stating, “They’ve got to leave this thing alone… The guy still hits it the farthest and has got the fastest clubhead speed, regardless of what you make the ball, he’s still going to be the longest hitter. They should leave it alone.”
Closing with his characteristic humor, Trevino playfully suggested that decision-makers refrain from pre-discussion cocktail parties, reinforcing his belief that the game is currently in a good place and meddling could lead to negative consequences.
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