The distance debate

Chris Paisley reflects on his own golf, Collin Morikawa’s win at The Open, and the diverse range of skills required to win golf tournaments around the world

I’ll start with a little update on how I’m doing golf-wise. It’s been a strange run. There has been some good, but also some awful golf. My long game has been very inconsistent, which has been frustrating as my short game and putting have been excellent. I have also had some issues with my back. I was forced to withdraw from the Porsche European Open after round one and I skipped the Cazoo Open to allow extra time to get it straightened out. I’ve had some treatment and feel much better as I write. I’ve also put some plans in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I have been really lucky with injuries so far in my career and I don’t intend on having any more going forward.

Collin Morikawa’s win at The Open has hopefully put the last nail in the coffin for the distance debate. He showed, albeit on a very different course than the standard PGA Tour event, that accuracy and control – both physically and emotionally – are critical. I imagine Collin chuckling to himself watching Bryson DeChambeau’s press conference before The Open. He talked about how he could take many bunkers out of play by bombing over them, though he did concede his success would be based on how straight he could hit his driver. Unfortunately for Bryson, hitting a 46-inch, five-degree driver with 130 mph swing speed onto a firm and tight links fairway is a bloody difficult thing to do; especially if the driver you are using “sucks” (his words, not mine). I thought the manner in which Collin tackled the course was the antithesis of Bryson’s approach, and it was so nice to see that way of playing win.

Fortunately, distance is not essential to winning. There are some courses where it is a big advantage, but in other weeks a different skill set is required. I have huge respect for Bryson and what he has done. Despite all his success, he has also proven that distance alone doesn’t make you dominant. It is my view that we don’t need to roll the ball back, we just need to make sure the setup of courses across a season is fair. There should be some courses that reward accuracy, some that reward distance, some brutally tough, some easy, and everything in between. That way we get to see a range of players showing a range of skills.

Enjoy the rest of the summer at home and be sure to get plenty of golf in.