Saturday, January 30, 2010

More Controversy on PGA Tour -- Phil's Turn

You probably know that the PGA Tour required players this year to stop hitting U-groove wedges and go back to V-grooves. Some players, including Phil Mickelson, are hitting the Ping Eye 2 wedge that was controversial when it came out 30 years ago because it has U-grooves.

Phil and other players using it say the PGA Tour approved the use of that club as part of a legal settlement back in the 80s. Others, including Robert Allenby and Scott McCarron, claim using the Ping wedge is skirting the new rule against the use of the U-groove wedge and want the PGA Tour to prohibit its use. McCarron even used the C-word: cheating.

As an attorney, the players using the Ping wedge appear to be within the Rules because the wedge has been approved by the PGA Tour. When the Tour drafted the ruling against the use of the U-grooves, it carelessly forgot about the Ping wedge and will need to amend its Rule.

Is it cheating though? Cheating to me is the intentional or even unintentional violation of a Rule. Players using the Ping wedge haven't violated the Rule as its currently written, so I can't go so far as saying they're cheating.

Would I continue to use that club since this controversy started? No. I wouldn't want to win the tournament with a questionable advantage over the rest of the field. I'd also be concerned that every time I used the wedge I unconsciously would have doubt creep into my game and somehow have it affect my shot. It wouldn't be worth it to me and my piece of mind.

How about you? What would you do if you were Phil or another player playing the Ping wedge? Keep hitting it? Or, put it back where you left it 30 years ago?

Enjoy the rest of the Farmers Insurance Open at beautiful Torrey Pines.


Anonymous said...

It's up to the PGA to amend the rule. The tour could do it on Monday...and they should.

Until then, the wedge is within the rules...those who want to use it can. There is no should about it.

Anonymous said...

Use of the club in a PGA event is against the spirit of the game--fairplay. For one, any club should be readily available to all competitors. And two, it would be nice for the PGA members to acknowledge the desire of the PGA to determine the factors that affect competition and not rely on a loophole to gain an unfair advantage.