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Wadkins says new rules favor Woods

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Count Lanny Wadkins among players who believe the upcoming change in the grooves’ rules will only make Tiger Woods tougher to beat.

New rules that take effect Jan. 1 are meant to limit the effectiveness of grooves on shots from the rough to V-groove design. That will substantially reduce spin that's been created from modern U-groove or square-groove design.

“Guess who's been playing V grooves all along? Tiger Woods,” Wadkins said during a news conference Monday before his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. “All he's got to change are two clubs in his bag. He's got to change his 56 [degree wedge] and his 60 [degree wedge]. He doesn't have to change balls, driver, nothing.  Let's just give Tiger a bigger advantage. Just what he needs, right?'

Wadkins said adapting to the new rules shouldn’t be a hardship for today's players, and he would like to see more severe restrictions.

“I like the idea of trying to get back to V grooves,” Wadkins said. “I just wish they had gone to a straight, old, traditional V groove because what they're doing ... is basically going to shallower U grooves. The manufacturers are going to figure out a way around it. They're going to figure out a way to keep as much spin as possible in the ball. I would love to see it back to the V grooves we played in the early '70s.  

“My generation has changed all the way along the line. We've changed from shafts that weren't frequency matched, then we went to frequency-matched shafts. Then we went to wooden clubs that were heavy, 14 1/2 ounces for a driver, a shaft that weighed 135 grams, which is probably what mine weiged early '70s, mid '80s. We've changed to small-headed metal clubs to big-headed metal to U grooves to balls that don't spin. My generation has changed all the way up. This generation, like where my boys are, my boys have always played the same stuff. They've never hit a wooden club. They're 21 and 17, all they've known is big-headed metal stuff. I think it's about time. This generation has to change something.  Let's see if they've got some imagination.'