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McGinley: Golf chiefs must tackle big hitters

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Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau

AP

Bryson DeChambeau

Paul McGinley insists golf's governing bodies must "step up to the plate now" if they are to get a handle on the distance debate following Bryson DeChambeau's utter destruction of Winged Foot at the US Open.

The Dubliner (51) does not believe that it was a watershed week for golf, but he does see it as confirmation that it's time the R&A and the USGA sat down with the manufacturers to find a solution.

"Man, they have got to step up to the plate now," McGinley said of the R&A and the USGA. "And they have got big issues to deal with.

"They have done massive research over the last two years and come out and said 'yes, there are some issues we need to address'. We are waiting now for six months to hear what they have to say.

"Last week was not a tipping point but it highlighted what's happened in the last decade and that's that big hitting is absolutely dominating the top of the game. If you're not a big hitter, you have got little or no chance of competing at the top level.

"I think what Bryson did last week was highlight it because he did it at the US Open and went to historically the toughest test of all and said I am going to basically roughshod my way through this and hit it as far as I can and work it out from there.

Bludgeoned

"He took the modern-game approach to a US Open set-up and bludgeoned it. But anybody who has been watching the game for the last 10 years knows that's what the top players have been doing.

"That's how Rory plays. He dominates off the tee. That's why he's been so brilliant. Take away his ability to hit the ball so long and so straight, and it's a different game.

"Look at Bryson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson; it's one big hitter after another. I went through my stats last year, and of the top 10 players in the world, only one was ranked in the top 100 in driving accuracy.

"And that was Jon Rahm, and he was around 88th or 89th. The rest were all outside the top 100."

McGinley believes the governing bodies need to get the poachers to turn gamekeeper and hire the mathematical scientists who are selling data and research to the players.

"Mark Broadie is a scientist, a researcher, a mathematical scientist from Colombia University, an Ivy League school over in New York," he said. "If I were the R&A, I would employ Mark Broadie and 15th Club and Stroke Average and say, help me out and tell me what we need to do."

Graeme McDowell doffed his cap to DeChambeau as he prepared to defend his title in the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic and insisted golf didn't need to rein in equipment or the ball. But McGinley knows the ruling bodies need to bring the manufacturers, not just the players, inside the tent if the likes of McDowell are ever to compete again.

"The odds are very much against Graeme competing on the big stage now because the guys hit it so far past him," McGinley said. "But remember the dynamics of golf are different to a lot of other sports. The players are incredibly powerful. They have an incredibly powerful voice.

"So do you really think that the top players in the world are going to endorse changes to equipment? Because that equipment is what is giving them a competitive advantage.

"Are turkeys going to vote for Christmas? Are they all going to say the R&A and the USGA have to change the clubs? No."

Bar setting a maximum height for golf tees to stop players launching balls in the stratosphere, it will take co-operation between the governing bodies and the manufacturers to bring about change.

"I would be employing these mathematicians and taking the lead from them because at the moment they are not doing that," he said. "And I would also be embracing the manufactures in a collective way and doing the right thing for the game and embracing the manufacturers rather than keeping them as outsiders.

"I know, for example, that the head of TaylorMade has not been communicated with. Why not? We are all in this game together and want to drive it forward.

"There is, of course, a commercial reality for that they have to do in terms of sales and all of that. But let's not keep them on the outside, let's keep them on the inside and do it with everybody within the game. Players included."

Allianz brand ambassador Paul McGinley was speaking at the launch of Leaders Lounge, a Titan Experience Property proudly supported by Allianz Ireland. Visit titan.leadersloungelive.com for more information.