Open reprieve for local qualifiers


The United States Golf Association announced on Tuesday that it will adopt the new groove rules as a condition of competition for the 2010 U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open starting with the sectional qualifying events for each of the three championships. The condition of competition will not be in effect for the local qualifying events for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship, which will be held at Pebble Beach Golf Links next June.

'We plan to adopt the condition of competition for all stages of Open qualifying in 2011, but 2010 will be a transitional year for the 9,000 players who typically try to qualify for the U.S. Open,' said Mike Davis, USGA senior director of Rules and Competitions. 'The important point is that any player who is one step from making it into any of the three Open championships will be playing with clubs that conform to this new condition of competition.'

The new rules place restrictions on sharp-edged grooves and the cross-sectional area of grooves on all clubs with lofts equal to or greater than 25 degrees (5-iron and above). This revision to the Rules of Golf will go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2010.

The PGA Tour, European PGA Tour and LPGA Tour all intend to adopt this condition of competition beginning in 2010, as do the PGA of America (PGA Championship) and Augusta National Golf Club (Masters).