USGA Equipment Rules Proposed

By Adam BarrMarch 3, 2007, 5:00 pm
On Tuesday, the U.S. Golf Association proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that govern grooves on golf clubs and the adjustability of clubs. The full proposal can be found on the USGA website. Here are the basics:
New Groove Regulations Proposals
WHAT: Effective limitations on the sharpness and spacing of grooves on the face of golf clubs ' that is, irons and wedges. Edges will have to be no less than .010 inches in radius. (The existing standard is not sharp to the finger.) Also, the total cross-sectional area of a groove (the surface area of its walls and floor) divided by the pitch of the groove (the width of the groove plus the width of the flat portion that exists between it and the next groove) will be limited to .0025 square inches per inch. (This would be a new standard.)
EFFECT: Grooved clubs, especially wedges, would be harder to spin when used with urethane-covered, soft golf balls of the kind favored on the PGA Tour and by many elite players. The new groove limitations would do little, if anything, to affect the performance of balls covered with Surlyn and other harder materials. According to the USGA, these harder balls are what most recreational players use. Also, players who do not generate Tour-level clubhead speed would be less likely to notice a difference in the behavior of balls hit with new grooves.
WHY: The USGA determined that the games elite players can too often bomb their drives and still hit good, spinning second shots, even from bad lies in the rough. Therefore, the importance of driving accurately has declined, says the USGA.
The skill of driving the ball accurately has become much less important in achieving success on Tour than it used to be, said Dick Rugge, the USGAs senior technical director. Our analysis of statistical data measured by the PGA Tour since 1980 shows that historically, driving accuracy was as comparably correlated to winning as putting. Beginning in the early 1990s, however, driving accuracy became much less important. Today, the correlation between driving-accuracy rank and money winning rank on the PGA Tour is very low.
WHEN: On the tours, not until January 1, 2010 (although tournament committees would be able to adopt a Condition of Competition employing the new rules, assuming they become golf law, on January 1, 2009). However, clubs in use or manufactured that conform to existing rules before the new rule is implemented would have a lengthy grace period ' at least 10 years, the USGA says.
NEW V-GROOVE ERA? Not necessarily, says the USGA. Once the proposals are adopted, grooves need not be V-shaped to comply. As long as the measurement limitations are satisfied, a groove can be any shape, Rugge said. That can mean deep and thin or shallow and wide. They can be small and relatively close together or large and far apart. The USGA set up the formula this way to allow design flexibility, Rugge said.
New Adjustability Proposals
WHAT: A rule that would allow woods and irons to be adjustable for more than just weight ' which is what is currently allowed.
EFFECT: Manufacturers could design clubs whose playing characteristics could be tailored to the golfer, by the golfer.
WHY: It would fine-tune club customization, leading to better play and more enjoyment. Clubs would still have to be constructed in a way that would not make for easy adjustability during a round. In the USGAs view, this would maintain fairness and the focus on the application of skill, not just technology. This approach would protect the core attributes of the game.
WHEN: If adopted, the proposal would become effective January 1, 2008.
CAN WE ADJUST? This should be an exciting opportunity for club wizards, who may be able to make clubs fit the demands of golfers ' and in some cases, course ' as never before. Ladies and gentlemen, start your innovation engines.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.