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Grooves and the Ryder Cup

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In the wake of a report this week that Augusta National will allow the use of nonconforming-yet-legal Ping Eye 2 wedges at this year’s Masters – that is, of course, if ongoing negotiations between the U.S. Golf Association and Ping fail to reach an agreement – the PGA of America weighed in on the issue on Friday.

According to Kerry Haigh, the PGA’s managing director of tournaments, the organization’s board voted last year to “adopt the condition of competition.” In Rules of Golf speak that means that if the USGA and Ping haven’t reached an agreement by August, “Glory’s Last Shot” will allow the use of the old modified “U-groove” wedges.

The issue could also become a talking point as September’s Ryder Cup approaches. Depending on where the matches are played, officials adhere to either the Royal & Ancient rules in Europe, which does not allow the use of the old wedges, or USGA rules in the United States.

There is, however, a “captain’s agreement” that decides issues outside the normal rules, like of order of play, during which the current groove issue would be decided long before the teams arrive in Wales.

“During the captain meetings we point out significant differences in the rules, like the grooves,” Haigh said. “When we know what everyone’s conditions of competition will be we usually start talking. It’s normally in March or April.”

All of which means the USGA and Ping are on the clock.