Showdown at the RA Corral
The 2001 PGA Merchandise Show is now something we're all blaming for having to dig out from under a mountain of e-mails. But some thoughts that people passed around over drinks and dinner remain, lo these 10 days later.
One subject that prompted a lot of out-loud thinking: Assuming the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews can settle their differences on so-called spring-like effect, what form would such an agreement take?
Let's recap: The USGA, concerned about the possibility that modern driving clubs might contravene the Rules of Golf, Appendix II(5)(a) ('.the face or clubhead shall not have the effect at impact of a spring.'), developed a test for spring-like effect. The test resulted in a limit on coefficient of restitution (or COR, a fancy word for spring-like effect) to a little more than 80 percent of what a total rebound off the face would be. (A simple for-instance: If a ball fired at a set speed at a still clubhead from 10 inches away came back no more than 8 inches, the clubhead would conform.)
But the R&A examined the situation and said, No thanks. Club development is reaching its natural limit, said the R&A. The game is not in danger. No test is necessary.
So clubs such as Callaway Golf's ERC II, which by design exceeds the USGA's limit, are legal everywhere but the United States and Mexico (as well as Canada, which decided to follow the USGA on this issue).
Many observers and powerful people in golf feel the need for the rift to be settled, and soon. They are not persuaded by history, in which the two bodies differed for years on shaft materials (steel or not) and ball size, all with little or no damage to the game.
But how many ways can there be to settle this? To most minds, there are three.
The R&A adopts the USGA test, or some other test, to limit the development of thin-faced drivers. Why should it? The R&A has no incentive to do an about-face so soon after counseling calm. Besides, many who know the R&A say that something of a men's club atmosphere (read: resistant to change as a child is to bedtime) still remains at the R&A, and that would prevent the R&A from reversing field.
The two organizations come to some compromise about where the coefficient of restitution limit should be. Clearly a sister-kiss. For the reasons stated above, why should the R&A even consider it? And if the USGA adjusts the limit, doesn't that call its original testing into question, or at least make it seem arbitrary?
The USGA revokes the coefficient of restitution limit. Whoa. Then it'd be off to the races for the manufacturers, and indeed, many of them have publicly called for this solution. But that involves major problems for the USGA.
The USGA, its hegemony over the American game already in danger, would find itself severely weakened if it simply caved on this issue and revoked the standard it developed only within the last two years. It would take some serious and delicate negotiating to achieve a revocation while saving face for the USGA.
But if the USGA doesn't revoke, how much hope does it have of repairing years of public relations damage done by its ivory-tower image, the kind of imperious behavior that has alienated many recreational golfers?
(To its credit, the USGA has begun to remake its image. But some say the effort comes too late.)
These are issues that go to the very question of golf's growth and future. And with Callaway planning an in-company committee to 'change attitudes' about the game (Callaway's words here), what we may have coming is a battle about bigger things than titanium clubheads.
We may have a war about the very definition of golf.
Casey comes up short (again) to Bubba at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Staked to a four-shot lead entering the final round of the Travelers Championship, Paul Casey watched his opening tee shot bounce off a wooden wall and back into the middle of the fairway, then rolled in a 21-foot birdie putt off the fringe.
At the time, it appeared to be a not-so-subtle indicator that Casey was finally going to get his hands on a trophy that has barely eluded him in the past. Instead it turned out to be the lone highlight of a miserable round that left the Englishman behind only Bubba Watson at TPC River Highlands for the second time in the last four years.
Casey shot the low round of the tournament with a third-round 62 that distanced him from the field, but that opening birdie turned out to be his only one of the day as he stalled out and ultimately finished three shots behind Watson, to whom he lost here in a playoff in 2015.
Casey’s score was 10 shots worse than Saturday, as a 2-over 72 beat only five people among the 73 others to play the final round.
“I mean, I fought as hard as I could, which I’m proud of,” Casey said. “Not many times you put me on a golf course and I only make one birdie. I don’t know. I’d be frustrated with that in last week’s event, but it is what it is.”
Casey led by as many as five after his opening birdie, but he needed to make a 28-foot par save on No. 10 simply to maintain a one-shot edge over a hard-charging Watson. The two men were tied as Casey headed to the 16th tee, but his bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 combined with a closing birdie from Watson meant the tournament was out of reach before Casey even reached the final tee.
Casey explained that a “bad night of sleep” led to some neck pain that affected his warm-up session but didn’t impact the actual round.
“Just frustrating I didn’t have more,” he said. “Didn’t have a comfortable swing to go out there and do something with.”
Casey won earlier this year at the Valspar Championship to end a PGA Tour victory drought that dated back to 2009, but after being denied a second victory in short succession when he appeared to have one hand on the trophy, he hopes to turn frustration into further success before turning the page to 2019.
“I’m probably even more fired up than I was post-Tampa to get another victory. This is only going to be more fuel,” Casey said. “I’ve got 12 events or something the rest of the year. So ask me again in November, and if I don’t have another victory, then I will be disappointed. This is merely kind of posturing for what could be a very good climax.”
Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups
Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.
That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.
Watch the video below.
The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.
Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win
ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title
The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.
Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.
Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.
Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.
Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.
Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass
CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.
According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”
But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.
It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.
“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”
DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.
“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”