Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Square Grooves are not Square Business


The 2010 PGA Tour season has already been hit with the Tiger Woods scandal and now comes the Square Grooves controversy. In 2010 the PGA tour banned the use f clubs with square grooves. The ban was imposed because research conducted by the USGA showed a distinct performance advantage with urethane-covered balls when using clubs with Square Grooves. In effect this ban was supposed to equal the playing field and make the game more competitive. But there was one glaring flaw with this move, a huge loophole called PING. Ping wedges made before April 1, 1990, are approved for competition because of a 1990 settlement fromPing’s lawsuit against the USGA. In other words in 2010 a player could put PING Eye 2 wedges into play and not be in violation of the square grooves ban.

World # 2 player Phil Mickelson along with a few other tour players did just that. They put a set of Ping wedges into their bags and set off a firestorm of criticism from fellow competitors. Tour Player Scott McCarron came out publicly and said that using Ping wedges amounted to cheating and violated the spirit of the game. Mickelson fired back with claims of slander and even hinted at possible legal action. But I have to agree with Scott McCarron on this one.

Yes McCarron comes off sounding like a cry baby but he has a point. Golf has always promoted itself as The Gentlemen’s game. Golf is the only game that players call fouls and penalties on themselves and the worst thing that can happen to a professional golfer is be labeled a cheater. The are numerous examples of golfers calling penalties on themselves that resulted in lost championships and lost revenue. But in the spirit of the game, honesty and integrity are paramount. So by using the PING loophole to side step the square grooves ban is a shady.

I agree Phil Mickelson isn’t a cheater. He simply taking advantage of a loophole that the PGA Tour and USGA should have closed prior to instituting this ban. So in essence he is within the rules of the game, sort of. If you know that square grooves are banned then don’t play with them at all. Even if there is a loophole that allows you to put them into play. I feel that as professional golfer and an ambassador of the game, a player should adhere to the rules at all times and remember that they represent what the game of golf stands for.


"Keep it in the short grass"

Edward S. Wanambwa

wwww.thegolfwriter.com

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