PGA Tour Club Testing to Begin by 2004

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PGA TourPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner, announced Tuesday that voluntary testing of golf clubs will begin by January 1, 2004 at the latest.
 
The PGA Tour's Policy Board approved testing Tuesday and said in a statement that it recognizes the need for further research to monitor clubhead speed and distance standards. The PGA Tour will work with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews to set reasonable limits on technology.
 
The main issue is the COR or coefficient of restitution that measures how quickly a ball leaves the clubface at impact. The current limit for professional golfers worldwide currently is .83.
 
The USGA is expected to approve a portable pendulum tested to measure COR at its meetings in October. If that is delayed, then Finchem said the tour may move ahead with the pendulum test anyway.
 
'The rumors are running rampant right now and we need to get the rumors out of the game,' said Finchem. 'And the only way to do it is to be able to verify, and this is a system that allows us to verify without having to take the clubhead apart.'
 
Tiger Woods has been vocal about his concerns that some players on the PGA Tour were using illegal equipment and called for mandatory testing in the past few weeks. Finchem said Tuesday that he had no reason to believe there was any non-conforming equipment in play, therefore the testing would be voluntary.
 
'That's what we are here to do,' said Jerry Kelly, who would be happy to have his equipment tested. 'Play by the rules and win tournaments within the rules.'
 
The commissioner also said the tour will support the indoor test range initiative put forth by the USGA. Balls currently approved would continue to be approved for use on the PGA Tour. However, balls that exceed the current standards when measured by the new testing schematic won't be approved.