Blog Entry

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

Posted on: January 30, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2010 4:16 pm

SAN DIEGO -- Color me shocked.

Moreover, color me increasingly sarcastic.

A day late, the PGA Tour finally mustered enough institutional moxie to condemn the comments of those who had ripped others for using the controversial Ping Eye 2 wedges in live play this season. Twice this week at Torrey Pines, veteran Scott McCarron had characterized the actions of those who used the clubs, which are perfectly legal according to the confusing grooves rule that took effect Jan. 1, as "cheating."

There is no more damning word in the sport. Phil Mickelson in particular was singled out by McCarron, and it touched off a firestorm of comment and has become the over-riding story element of the tournament.

Meanwhile, all that could be heard from the tour headquarters was the sound of sleepy crickets.

After ignoring a legion of news-gathering organizations that requested formal tour comment Friday about what McCarron said, the Ponte Vedra brass awakened Saturday afternoon and finally conceded that the veteran had over-reached. Of course, the tour still didn't have the gumption to actually mention by name either McCarron or Mickelson, who did nothing wrong and had his character assaulted.

The tour left Mickelson twisting the wind for a day before doing the right thing. The tour release read, in part: "Because the use of pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 irons is permitted for play, public comments or criticisms characterizing their use as a violation ... are inappropriate at best."

Typically of the spin-conscious organization, the statement wasn't attributed to any particular person. The tour also indicated that Commissioner Tim Finchem would address the grooves controversy next Tuesday at the tour stop in Los Angeles.

In other words, an embarassing rules loophole that should have been handled four weeks ago -- the tour has indicated it could have banned the Ping Eye 2s from play in 2010 if it saw fit -- will still be a hot-button issue in Los Angeles, too.

Eight players are using Ping Eye 2 irons of some sort this week.

There's considerable debate over whether the tour is empowered to unilaterally ban the clubs. Ping officials told reporters at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando that the original agreement with the tour from 1993 means the Eye 2 clubs are grandfathered in and that any modification of that pact would be a highly complicated affair. 

Category: Golf

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2010 2:35 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

"The failure to play Callaway equipment -- as his fans think he is -- is also not the high ground."

Seriously?  Who cares what his "fans think he is playing"?  Phil has the right to play with whatever clubs he wants as long as they are legal on Tour.  The whole "spirit of the law" thing is crap.  Palmer had his army that would purposely let the ball hit them if it was going out of bounds in order to assist him.  Should Arnie have added a stroke because the interference from the fans was not in the "spirit" of some rule?  EVERY player has the opportunity to play with the same clubs.  You may not like it, but it certainly is not cheating.

Since: Jan 31, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2010 12:42 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

I have Ping Eye 2s. Bought in the late 80s. Scott Mc crossed the line. He should go on EBAY or in his garage and get a Ping Eye 2 wedge.  If not--he needs to watch what he says. That Ping Eye 2 did not help Phil on Sat Jan 31 when he hit the tree or went into the water. I have a Sand Wedge and Pitching wedge if Scott wants to borrow them.

Since: Jan 31, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2010 1:33 am

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

I don't see why Ping doesn't just do the decent thing and allow the Tour to ban them. Perhaps that's really naive, but I don't see how the company is benefitting from having those eight players play with the grandfathered clubs. It should say to the Tour, if you ban them we won't sue. Ping won't suffer at all and everyone on the Tour will be playing with the same (at least similar) grooves.

Since: Jul 10, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2010 8:05 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

Let's settle this once and for all.

Give Phil a set of NON-GROOVED clubs. No grooves at all. Putter-faced irons.

Give McJerkon a set of DEEP, SQUARE-GROOVED clubs.

Match play.

My money is on Phil winning. And I wish I could say McJerkon would ride off into the sunset, but that wouldn't happen.

He'd find something else to whine about.

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2010 7:20 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

The rule is being followed by all the golfers playing the old pings. The "spirit if the rule" is a cop out. The rule is the rule.

Since: Sep 8, 2009
Posted on: January 30, 2010 7:09 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

Have any comments about Tiger Woods?

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2010 7:07 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

So you admit he's NOT breaking the rules.  "Spirit of the rule" my butt.

Since: Jan 30, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2010 6:14 pm

Tour slow-plays grooves controversy

As a leader ont he tour, Phil Michelson is sheating in two ways.  He is not following the spirit of the rule because he has not playing with equipment that meets the new standard.  Hiding behind a legal loop-hole indicates a lack of a strong moral compass.  The failure to play Callaway equipment -- as his fans think he is -- is also not the high ground.  Saying that he was slandered is whining.  That fits the personality of the happy-go-lucky Phil, not Phil the husband and father and adult example to his children.

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