|By REX HOGGARD|
SAN DIEGO – Phil Mickelson picked a bad time to make a political statement and he and the others playing the non-conforming-but-legal Ping Eye 2 wedges may be a little too NASCAR for a sport built on self-policing, but they are not cheating contrary to what Scott McCarron or anyone else thinks.
Paul Goydos, the sage of the short grass, said it best: “If you have a beef with the rule you should take it up with the Tour’s lawyers, not a player. That’s like saying I don’t like the speed limit at 55 mph and instead drive 80 (mph). You can’t do that.”
Golf is filled with rules that stretch the imagination and blur the boundaries of commonsense. European Tour official John Paramor wasn’t trying to ruin a special Sunday last year when he put Padraig Harrington on the clock at the Bridgestone Invitational, just as Tiger Woods wasn’t attempting to get away with one in 1999 when he had fans move half a mountain under the “loose impediment” rule at the Phoenix Open.
The Tour may deserve a two-shot penalty for its handling of this, but not Mickelson or any of the others who are simply following the rules.
|By RANDALL MELL|
Phil Mickelson isn’t cheating; he’s being clever.
It’s wrong anyway.
The square or U grooves on the Ping Eye 2 wedge he put into play at the Farmers Insurance Open are approved for play, but they don’t meet the U.S. Golf Association’s new standards for groove configuration. Mickelson is wrong to deliberately circumvent the intent of the new rules. He’s doing so within his rights based on the loophole created when a court settlement grandfathered the square grooves on these Ping Eye 2 irons into the rules.
Basically, what Lefty’s doing is making a mockery of the Rules of Golf. But he’s doing it intentionally. I think he sees this as an act of defiance for the ultimate betterment of the game. I think he’s convinced the USGA is to blame for making a mockery of the rules with a poorly conceived standard. Mickelson isn’t happy with the USGA, and he’s sending a message. He isn’t happy that the grooves on a Callaway wedge he submitted were not approved, though he says they are conforming. In Lefty’s mind, he’s exposing the injustice of a poorly written rule. But the manipulation at the expense of fellow competitors feels wrong.