The 1990s-era Ping Eye 2 wedges with nonconforming-but-legal grooves are here to stay, at least in the short term.
According to multiple players who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject the PGA Tour is considering a local rule that would ban the use of the Ping Eye 2 wedges, which were grandfathered into use by a 1993 settlement involving Ping, the U.S. Golf Association and PGA Tour.
Commissioner Tim Finchem informed players at a 40-minute meeting Tuesday afternoon at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles that the Tour is confident a local rule prohibiting the use of the clubs would hold up to any potential legal challenge from Ping but it would take 90 days to enact the rule. No decision is expected to be made until after next week's meeting of the Policy Board at Pebble Beach.
The issue became contentious last week at Torrey Pines when Scott McCarron said any player using the grandfathered wedges was cheating, including Phil Mickelson.
“What I would sort of suggest, is that maybe everybody sign up to a charter and say we won't use them,” said Padraig Harrington, who is considering putting a 60-degree Ping Eye 2 in play this week in Los Angeles. “But while they're out there being used, it's a difficult situation for anybody who's competitive not to go out there and take full advantage of what you can if somebody else is.”
Only four players put the Ping Eye 2s in play last week according to the Darrell Survey, and it seems unlikely a large number of players would convert to the older wedges. A large portion of the Tour is under contract to play at least 14 clubs manufactured by a specific company and sources say it is getting harder to find the older clubs.