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R&A chief on distance: 'We have probably crossed that line'

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R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers has officially joined his USGA counterpart in raising an eyebrow over recent increases in distance among the game's best players.

Speaking on a media conference call Monday, Slumbers echoed prior statements from USGA chief executive Mike Davis who has proclaimed that recent gains in distance are leading to subsequent cost increases tied to a golf course's "footprint."

"Our 2002 joint statement of principles put a line in the sand, or purported to put a line in the sand," Slumbers said. "I think our view is when you start to look at this data now, that we have probably crossed that line in the sand and that a serious discussion is now needed on where we go. And it is a multi-faceted matter. It's extremely complex."

Slumbers explained that the R&A and USGA will publish findings from a joint study on distance in the coming weeks, and that the study will include a "statement" from the two organizations on the topic. According to Slumbers, the data contained in the study has raised "serious concern" for both the R&A and USGA.

"We had talked for a number of years about slow creep, and this is a little bit more than a slow creep," Slumbers said. "It's actually quite a big jump."