Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Gary Player have all weighed in on golf’s distance debate, with all four arguing for a limited-flight ball in the pro ranks.
They now have a surprising supporter in their corner: the chief executive officer of a major golf-ball manufacturer.
In a recent interview with GOLF.com, Bridgestone Golf president and CEO Angel Ilagan agreed with the legends of the game. “As it relates to the Tour…there needs to be something to standardize [the ball] because the guys are hitting it way too long,” Ilagen says.
This marks the first time the chief executive of a leading ball manufacturer has publicly called for a dialed-back ball.
The CEO echoed the sentiments of Woods — Bridgestone’s most high-profile staff player — who said in a recent podcast: “We need to do something about the golf ball. I just think [the ball] is going too far. With the game progressing as it is, I think the 8,000-yard golf course is not too far away. That’s pretty scary.”
Bridgestone signed Woods in 2016 to play the company’s Tour B 330 S ball, which has now been reworked and rebranded as the Tour B XS.
Ilagan said he is in favor of bifurcation, with one set of rules for pros and another for recreational players.
“I think there is an option to have a ball that is played on Tour, and a ball that is played casually,” he said, adding that he gives a standardized ball a 50-50 chance of appearing on Tour in the near future.
Ilagan also reflected on what effect Woods’s return to competitive golf could have on his company’s bottom line, saying that a Woods victory would double the lift that the 14-time major winner has already provided Bridgestone Golf.
Ilagan said that no other golfer could have that kind of impact.
“With all due respect to Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods transcended the game,” he said. “He was able to change people’s behavior and that’s whether playing the game or selecting products. He’s the only individual that has had that impact.”
Watch the full interview in the video above.