Ridley: Distance positive factors, course integrity in thoughts

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — Masters Match chairman Fred Ridley mentioned Wednesday he’s keenly within the outcomes from an ongoing research on distance by golf’s governing our bodies, because it pertains to holding Augusta Nationwide viable as a significant championship venue.

“As I’ve said up to now annually, we take a look at each gap of our golf course,” Ridley mentioned throughout his annual pre-tournament information convention. “Luckily, we do have the flexibility to make any variety of adjustments to guard the integrity of the course.

“On the identical time, we hope there won’t come a day when the Masters or any golf championship must be performed at 8,000 yards to attain that goal.”

A yr in the past, the USGA and R&A launched their “Distance Insights Venture,” wherein they said that the persevering with enhance in size was “detrimental’ to the sport.

Ridley has made it clear he wish to see the governing our bodies give you some type of answer.

“This is a vital crossroads,” Ridley mentioned. “So we’ll proceed to induce the governing our bodies and all events to place ahead considerate options as quickly as doable.”

And if there isn’t a viable answer? Ridley wouldn’t go as far as to say Augusta Nationwide would make its personal guidelines. Not but.

“I do know there’s been some speak up to now of probably a Masters golf ball or one thing like that,” he mentioned. “I might assume that will be extremely unlikely and would, in my opinion, be an absolute final resort. We’ve had a long-standing place of supporting the governing our bodies.

“I used to be very inspired once I noticed the areas of curiosity that had been printed by the USGA and R&A just lately. I do know there have been various opinions amongst gamers and others, different stakeholders in golf, and that is actually how the method ought to work.

“I might add that so far as I perceive what’s being studied, that a part of the research could be — wouldn’t be supposed to make it tougher or to impose rules that will make it tougher for increased handicappers to play. We’re involved about that subject. Progress of the sport is an enormous subject.

“However our place could be to help the governing our bodies, after which if there isn’t a motion taken, for no matter cause, then we have to take a look at different choices with regard to our golf course and what we will do to proceed to problem these nice golfers and preserve the design integrity.”

Ridley, the 1975 U.S. Novice champion, can be a former president of the USGA and was in control of the Masters competitions committee, together with guidelines, previous to turning into chairman.

Among the many different matters lined by Ridley on Wednesday:

Ridley’s feedback got here earlier than the findings of the crash had been launched Wednesday. “Like all of you, I used to be deeply saddened once I discovered of Tiger’s tragic automobile accident in February. Tiger Woods is likely one of the best opponents within the historical past of all sports activities, and he’s and ceaselessly might be part of the material of Augusta Nationwide and the Masters Match,” Ridley mentioned. “Our ideas are with Tiger and his household and family members with whom he shares such an in depth bond. He’s drastically missed this week, and we proceed to hope and pray for his restoration.”

“We consider the eye to element surrounding the course and our traditions might be world class and can present new and present followers across the globe with a enjoyable and interactive approach to take a look at Augusta Nationwide,” Ridley mentioned.

The sport is scheduled to be launched forward of subsequent yr’s match, with all proceeds going to the Masters Match Basis, which seeks to assist develop the sport.

Numerous estimates put the quantity at round 6,000 to eight,000 spectators a day. “Each conventional group of credential holders, whether or not or not it’s day by day ticket holders, badge holders, Berckmans Place holders, all had been represented within the tickets that had been distributed this yr,” Ridley mentioned. “And we additionally had been more than happy to have the ability to present native healthcare employees, fairly just a few native healthcare employees, with credentials to look at the match.”

The Masters has lengthy had a coverage of permitting spectators to position folding chairs at varied locations on the property, with others welcoming them again to their place even when they depart for hours. However this yr, indicators have popped up saying that chairs can’t be left unattended. If they’re, safety guards are eradicating them. Ridley mentioned it’s a one-year coverage.

“We’ve had perfect climate,” Ridley mentioned. “We had a cool January, we had somewhat extra rain than regular in February, however all of these situations have normalized, and you’ve got seen the climate the previous few days. It has been terrific. That is most likely the primary yr going again to (Adam Scott’s win in 2013) once we really got here into the week with the golf course enjoying agency and quick, as it’s proper now. Our intention could be to take care of that all through the week.

“Prior to now, we would have began out somewhat comfortable after which bought firmer because the week went on and vice versa, and final yr we had been fairly comfortable all week. I believe we’ve got the golf course the place we wish it. It is enjoying, as I mentioned in my feedback, agency and quick, and never solely the greens however the fairways. The ball actually is rolling.

“(Membership founder) Bobby Jones mentioned usually he needed to create an inland hyperlinks course when he constructed Augusta Nationwide. So when you concentrate on that, we actually do not appear like a hyperlinks course as a result of we’ve got a variety of bushes, however we will have the traits of a hyperlinks course by having the bottom play an enormous half in how the course is performed, and that is what we try to do.”

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