In March 2023, when the governing bodies of golf made a consequential announcement, it shook the entire golf world. This news was regarding the rollback rule of the golf ball. Simply put, it implied the reduction in the distance the ball travels. In place of the usual length, elite golfers would face a restriction of almost 20-30 yards.
With most of the players opposing the new policy, it was bound for discussions to be not as efficacious as desired. These conversations were scheduled between the PAC (Player Advisory Council), the equipment companies, and the two advisory bodies (USGA and R&A). Among various representatives, the Titleist was also present in the meeting. Apparently, the statement issued by them regarding the ball used by Tiger Woods was quite bold!
Titleist issued a bold comment against the ball used by Tiger Woods in the 1997 Masters
The recent conference was held among the PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, USGA CEO, chief executive of R&A, original equipment manufacturers, and Tour executives and players. The topic of discussion was the application of the golf ball rollback policy. Among various statements provided by many players including Adam Scott, the golf equipment companies also went ahead and presented their views.
In the company of Callaway and Bridgestone, Titleist also addressed a disparate viewpoint. On May 30th the presentations were given out to the PGA Tour PAC according to Dan Rapaport. Though, it was Titleist that made a surprising comment. Rapoport tweeted, “Titleist claimed the Professional 90, the ball Tiger used to win the 1997 Masters, would be too hot and fail the new regulations. Governing bodies painted a different picture.”
The USGA/R&A and the equipment companies presented to PGA Tour Player Advisory Council last night.
Titleist claimed the Professional 90, the ball Tiger used to win the 1997 Masters, would be too hot and fail the new regulations. Governing bodies painted a different picture.
— Dan Rapaport (@Daniel_Rapaport) May 31, 2023
The focus of this statement was on the use of the Professional 90 for the current game of golf. This, as per the tweet, might not be fruitful for the present scenario of the game. Currently, the parent corporation of Titleist, Acushnet, holds a net worth of $3.08B. However, this new policy might have an impact on the company.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that the statement doesn’t sound strange! Without any doubt, the 1997 Masters was an iconic win for Woods. According to Golf Monthly, the company signed a five-year deal of $20M with the legend in 1996. This adds to the boldness of the statement. In fact, the 82-time PGA Tour winner went on to win the ’97 Masters tournament with Titleist gear, comprised of a King Cobra driver and the iconic professional 90 balls.
The 1997 Masters golf ball used by Woods auctioned for a colossal prize
Whatever the outcome of the rollback rule, the memorabilia related to Woods still remains unparalleled. The 1997 Masters golf ball used by Woods was auctioned off for $64,124.40 in April this year. Tiger Woods used this ball in the final round and went on to make a bogey on the fifth hole. While walking toward the sixth tee, he witnessed a boy and handed him the Titleist golf ball.
According to Golf Digest, this is how the ball got its fame. The Washington Times featured the incident the next day on their front page. Right after this incident, Tiger clinched his victory gracefully.