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Ping USGA talks productive

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Could a compromise be in the works between the U.S. Golf Association and Ping that will solve the problems the new rules governing grooves are causing?

There’s no telling just yet, but at least both sides report progress in their talks this week.

The USGA released this statement today from newly elected USGA president Jim Hyler.

“We met with representatives from Ping yesterday,” Hyler said. “Our conversation with Ping regarding the status of the Ping Eye2 irons on the major professional American tours was productive, and we are hopeful that a solution can be found that respects and reflects the best interests of golfers and the game.'

Ping echoed the “so far, so good” sentiment in a statement of its own.

“We had a productive meeting with the USGA yesterday regarding the Ping Eye2 groove debate on the PGA Tour,” Ping Chairman and CEO John Solheim said. “I’m encouraged by their willingness to openly discuss some of the challenges the golf industry faces relating to equipment issues. We left the meeting with an understanding we would continue to seek a solution that benefits golfers and acknowledges the importance innovation plays in the game.”

What that all means remains to be seen with PGA Tour pros eager for a solution that’s divided their membership over the use of Ping Eye2 wedges built before April 1, 1990. Those clubs do not conform to today’s new rules governing grooves but are still legal based on the settlement of a lawsuit that grandfathered their use into the rules.

PGA Tour pros would like the USGA and Ping to solve their problem.

'The easiest solution, obviously, is Ping lying down and saying, `For the betterment of the game, we are taking the clubs out of play,'' said Jeff Gove, a member of the PGA Tour's Player Advisory Council.