SAN DIEGO – The man who has tried to win one major without a driver in his bag and another with two in the mix, arrives at his season opener with a standard lineup, save for one 20-year-old wedge.
Like some other PGA Tour players who have taken advantage of a settlement between the U.S. Golf Association and Ping, Phil Mickelson plans to play a 1990-circa Ping Eye 2 wedge that features U grooves, which have been outlawed for use on the PGA Tour.
“I don’t make the rules, but I do abide by them,” Mickelson said.
Mickelson said he had an old Ping wedge bent from 60 degrees to 64 degrees for use this week in response to the new rule. Last year Callaway Golf submitted a new set of conforming V groove wedges to the USGA that were not approved for Tour play.
“In dealing with the USGA we have on one side conforming and legal grooves and on the other side we have approved for play (grooves),” Mickelson said. “They’re not the same thing.”
Some players were criticized for using the older Ping wedges, saying the loophole violate the spirit of the rule.
“I played with a guy who had them and there was one shot where the ball spun back like it used to and I just looked at my caddie,” said one Tour player. “It just didn’t seem right.”