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Golf | SA

Gary Player © Gallo Images

'Black Knight' slams RA

Gary Player has criticised the Royal and Ancient (RA) for not limiting the distance the golf ball travels with modern technology.

Player, 77, was speaking at his Gary Player Invitational at Zimbali and the subject quickly turned to the ball.

"I would first of all realise, if I were the RA, that there are two different games and they say it's one game," said Player.

"It isn't because professional golf and amateur golf are as far apart as from here to Cairo. The thing is, they don't want to recognise that."

Player said the RA need to distinguish amateurs from professionals and have according governing rules.

"If they think it's the same game, go and tee it up and play with Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy and you'll really get the message.

"The amateur is still the important man, not the professional golfer.

"We've to keep continuing with technology for the amateur, but for professional golf we've got to tomorrow cut the ball back 50 yards. It's hurting golf."

Player explained golf courses are becoming obsolete in the continual need to be lengthened.

He went on to take a swipe at what was happening to golf courses, saying golf clubs overreact to courses which hold professional tournaments and then have the course lengthened.

"Clubs are stupid. They say 'somebody came here and played a tournament and played a drive and a six iron at the par five'. That doesn't matter, don't change your course because of that," said Player.

"Now you lengthen your golf course, and it's more water needed. Water is the biggest problem in golf design. No golf course should be allowed to be designed unless you use effluent water."

Player said the modern golf ball was as a result doing immeasurable harm to the game.

"Everybody is spending hundreds of millions of dollars changing their golf course. Just change that little ball, it's so cheap and take the money that's been raised and put it into the youth," he said.

Player then went on to say the belly putter needed to be banned.

"They have also got to stop this belly putter. I played with a guy the other day that's got the putter on his nose," he joked.

"The things that you're seeing are unbelievable. And nerves are an integral part of golf.

"When I was a young man, I used to train with tai chi on how to have a strong mind, when playing and how to handle when you're coming the line to win a golf tournament because I didn't have the size of other guys."

Player said now, if a player a had a problem of nerves, all they had to do was get a belly-putter.


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