Golf: GOLF'S TOO EASY NOW; Nicklaus: Technology Is Killing the Game I Love. It's Time to Act
Byline: Neil McLEMAN Golf Correspondent
JACK NICKLAUS fears the Old Course at St Andrews will be destroyed by the big-hitters next week.
And the Golden Bear, approaching his final Open, reckons the humiliation of the most famous links in the world will act as a "wake-up call" to golf's bosses to limit the use of technology.
The last time St Andrews staged the Open back in 2000, Tiger Woods recorded a 19-under-par total of 269 to win by EIGHT shots after avoiding every bunker during his four rounds.
Five years on, Nicklaus reckons hi-tech equipment will allow many more to overpower the course which first staged the Open in 1873.
"I am worried about it now," admitted the 65-year-old. "It matched up to the modern-day golfer until 2000. In 1995 it was certainly still very competitive but in 2000 Tiger never even saw a bunker.
"Tiger was considered the longest hitter out there at the time but he's not any more, even though he's 25 yards longer than he was in 2000. So how many more guys are going to make the course obsolete?"
Augusta has reacted to the march of technology by announcing plans to stretch the US Masters course to make it the second-longest in Major history next year.
And the Royal & Ancient have lengthened St Andrews by 164 yards to 7,279 yards for next week.
But Nicklaus, who won the last of his record 18 Majors back in 1986, reckons that has worsened the problem. "Not one of the top five players in the world are in the top 120 for driving accuracy," he said. "What does that say about the game? It says that golf has become a pure power game. You don't have to hit it straight any more, just hit it as far as you can. The farther you hit it, the more money you make, the more events you win. Is that right?
"I may be an old fuddy-duddy but I believe in doing the right thing for the game of golf. …