Global game needs a bigger ball: top TV analyst

Fri Oct 30, 2015 3:13pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Top-level professional golf is headed by an "extraordinary group of players" but the game urgently needs a bigger ball to keep it relevant for the average amateur, says former Ryder Cup player and television analyst David Feherty.

While world number one Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and others have given fans plenty to savor, both on and off the course, Feherty believes that golf's rulemakers have missed out on an obvious opportunity to improve the game for everyone.

"The first thing that I would change would be the size of the ball," Northern Irishman Feherty told Reuters in a telephone interview. "It would bring all the old golf courses back into relevance if you make the ball two-hundredths of an inch bigger.

"We've already done it once, we went from 1.62 (inches in diameter) to 1.68, so why not go to 1.70 where the ball spins a little more, it's harder to hit straight and it doesn't go as far.

"The most important thing of all is that you have to keep the game popular and comfortable and relevant for the people who drive the industry, and those are the amateur golfers."

According to Feherty, the benefits of a slightly larger ball would be huge for the average weekend player.

"A bigger ball would sit up a little more around the green, it's a little easier to chip with and that's the area that really will help the average amateur," said the 57-year-old former European Tour player who now lives in the United States.

"It's just common sense, and that's probably the reason why the R&A and USGA haven't gotten around to it yet," Feherty said of the game's governing bodies, before adding that he would like to see professional golfers making rules for professional golf.   Continued...