After taking aim at Bryson DeChambeau, the current leader in long-drive distance, John Daly claimed he could have easily outdriven him in his prime and that the balata ball that he used in the 1990s is no longer necessary.
Bryson DeChambeau has been the PGA Tour leader in driving distance for the past few years, averaging 320 yards from the tee, but we all know that he has a number of drives that have exceeded 400 yards.
To put that into perspective 20 years ago, Daly led the PGA Tour in driving distance at just over 300 yards.
However, one of the main reasons balata was thought of as a “pro’s ball” or “low handicapper’s ball” back in the 90s was because its soft, balata cover cut so easily on mishits.
Balata balls were made from a rubber-like material that was found in nature. Higher loft irons, such as wedges, had more spin because of the soft coating on the outside of the ball. Despite the fact that it had a higher spin rate, it also traveled less.
Daly believes that today’s premium and more durable golf balls are much easier to hit straight than they were in his day, despite the fact that amateurs still have difficulty finding fairways.
DeChambeau, who finished sixth in the World Long Drive Championship in 2021, has been working even harder to improve his distance in the off-season, according to recent social media and YouTube posts.
As a result, DeChambeau has now pushed his ball speed up over the 220 mph mark for the first time in his career.
But while Daly is certainly impressed with what DeChambeau is doing with the driver as we head into 2022, the two-time major champion cannot help but feel golf is much easier than it was back in the 80s and 90s – as a result of no longer using a balata ball.
He also believes DeChambeau is still shy of where he was some 25 years ago… and that he was even hitting a 1-iron as far as Bryson hits his driver.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW – skip to 1:17 in the video to watch Daly’s thoughts on Bryson and long driving
“I looked at the monitor at The Masters last year, and he [Bryson] was at 200/205mph ball speed or something, and I remember Nick Faldo was watching him, and I was like ‘Nick, I was at 220mph, man’ and that’s with the balata ball. I was carrying the ball 330/340mph with the balata ball… and that wasn’t even with a driver” said Daly on the Full Send Podcast.
Daly added: “What Bryson is doing is phenomenal, but most tournaments I played in I hardly ever hit a driver.
“In my prime I hit 1-irons, a PING 1-iron. I would fly that thing 300 yards. I’d even cut that thing 280 [yards] into par 5s.
“The golf ball is so easy [to hit] now, it’s so straight. I mean, no disrespect to the guys out there today, Tiger [Woods] would agree.
“You put a balata ball in hands of Bryson…”
Daly was then asked by the podcast hosts as to whether he would outdrive DeChambeau had been using the golf balls they are using on the PGA Tour today when back in his prime.
“Oh by far I would… I’m the straightest long hitter that ever lived,” said Daly.
“I don’t brag but Tom Watson said that.”
Read the original article on Golf Magic.