The distance “problem” — if it is a real problem — has been a hot-topic and sometimes a very emotional one, for about one-hundred and twenty-five years. However, it resurfaces with some degree of regularity.
The furor eventually subsides, and for a short time, there is a wonderful sense of peace and calm, during which other real problems the game has are addressed. This calm, which is disturbed only by someone on the Tour, driving the ball an extraordinary distance, which is generally an anomaly and is not normally something to be too excited about until it becomes a regular occurrence. Unfortunately, this abnormal performance re-ignites a dormant and very volatile issue.
I know this, as I have been intimately involved in the topic for about one-third of its existence and have been documenting its characteristic cyclical nature.
The calm between the storms is predictable as any solution(s) to the “problem” seem to inevitably be more of a problem than the “problem” itself.
The good news is, that this time around there is a concerted effort to define the problem. Without a clear definition there is little chance of coming up with a solution.
I congratulate the USGA and R&A for their collective efforts to develop the Distance Report, and presenting this information to the real stake-holders – golfers who in many cases are deep thinkers as they really do care about the game.