SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – When Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open, it touched off a debate that has been circulating in the golf world for years.
Are players hitting the ball too far, making the game different?
Some local players weighed in on the matter.
“I think length has always been a big deal,” said Boyd Summerhays, Tony Finau’s swing coach. “My dad, even when we were growing up, was talking about length and distance.”
“I definitely see the game getting a little bit longer and that’s where I think the game is headed,” added 2-time Utah State Am champion Preston Summerhays.”
“I don’t like the direction the game is going,” said former PGA Tour player Mike Reid. “Because there aren’t many guys out there trying to develop every aspect of the game and develop a well-rounded game, its very one dimensional.”
Reid, who won two PGA Tour events and two senior majors, was never long off the tee, but had the nickname Radar, because he was so accurate with his driver and his irons, leading the tour in fairways hit and greens in regulation several times. And he doesn’t like where the game is heading.
“When I started I was trying to model my game after the Tom Kite’s and the Hale Irwin’s and the guys that had all the shots and that what you were trying to develop,” Reid said. “I don’t see many guys trying to develop those any more, and I think its sad for golf.”
But some of the younger players disagree.
“I don’t think that because the PGA Tour can do anything with the pins, so it doesn’t really matter how you long hit it,” said 18-year-old Preston Summerhays, who just missed the cut at the U.S. Open. “If you can’t be precise with your approach shots, you won’t get good birdie looks.”
“[DeChambeau] pushed the envelope and he’s the one that took the risk,” added Boyd Summerhays, Preston’s father. “I mean he could have looked stupid bulking up and beefing up and hitting driver everywhere but I’ve got to give credit to Bryson where he made that work.”
But whether you agree with it or not, hitting it longer seems like the future of the game.
“I congratulate these guys for figuring it out because that’s the way the modern game is being played,” Reid said. “So unless we see some changes with the golf ball, then I think we’ll see more of this hit it hard and putt good mentality.”
“I think what has changed is we have more athletes in the game,” said Boyd Summerhays. “My son is 6’3″, Tony is 6’4″, there are plenty of guys 6’1″ and over, and you didn’t see that 20 years ago. So, I think it’s the Tiger effect still we’re seeing. But Bryson is going to take that to another level for sure. I do think he will have an effect on it.”