Callaway Fay Debate Non-Conforming Clubs

By Golf Channel NewsroomJanuary 23, 2001, 5:00 pm
Ely Callaway and the Callaway manufacturing team believe its ERC II driver should be legal in all functions administrated by the United States Golf Association. The USGA says no, the driver doesn't meet USGA standards because its 'spring-like effect' is too great. In other words, the Callaway club goes too far.
That was the crux of the debate Monday night in The Golf Channel studios between David B. Fay, executive director of the USGA, and Ely Callaway, head of Callaway equipment company. The question seemed to be, does the USGA have the right to control distances the clubs will propel the game ball? Fay says 'yes.' Callaway says 'no.'
'We have no problem with technology,' said Fay. 'We think technology should blend with tradition. We've certainly demonstrated that over the years in allowing technological advances such as the one you've cited (putters which are perimeter-weighted to make the ball go straighter.)
'But what we have here is an issue dealing with a driver, this phenomena called spring-like effect.'
Callaway believes there are two different types of game. 'There's a game of golf that is fundamentally competitive or tournament golf,' he said, which he estimated is played by perhaps five percent of the population. And there is recreational golf, which is the game played by 95 percent. 'And we think that there should be another set or rules or practice that affect these golfers, and they should not be bound by rules which are for the other five percent.'
Hence, the ERC driver. Using club walls that are thinner than the average club, the ERC propels the ball a greater distance via a trampoline effect.
Fay disagreed. 'To us, the important thing is we establish a rule, and we believe players should play by that rule,' he said. 'There's not a distinction in our minds that you have one set of rules for one type of player and another set for another.
'There's one game, and there's one set of rules. And we're not in the business to treat the game like it were some buffet line where you pick a little bit of this, you discard a little bit of that, you pick and you chose. The first rule of golf is you play by the rules of golf - not some of the rules some of the time, but all of the rules all of the time.'
Callaway said the ERC is a means by which non-accomplished players can still find the game enjoyable. And anything which adds as much satisfaction to the game can't be wrong, he argued.
'The average golfer probably won't shoot a lower score,' he said. 'But they will get the thing which brings them back to the game - which is the emotional satisfaction of a well-struck shot, which is the one thing the USGA doesn't see, because you don't look at the game that way. You look at the game as one that is supposed to be difficult.'
But it's the club's added distance that is the problem, said Fay. The game, which is slow already, will be slower because a longer club will merely force golf course architects to design even longer courses. And distance is relative, he said, because if his opponent gets a club which is 15 yards longer, he gets the same club to get the extra 15 yards.
'We feel that if you can get that extra distance through training, that's fine,' Fay said. ' But to just introduce a club, everyone is going to hit it longer. And if you're 15 yards longer than I am now, you're probably going to be 15 yards longer with any new club.'
Callaway feels that the new club, however, will have a very positive impact upon the game.
'When we get a new development once in 18 years which clearly gives added pleasure to the average hacker who is never going to score well at all, if we can give him this little added enjoyment with no threat at all to the negative - that adds a little pleasure to the striking of the ball,' said Callaway.
Callaway criticized the USGA rule-making body for being comprised of players who are exceptional golfers. For that reason, he said, there isn't enough credence given to a club which will allow the inferior player to feel like a better player.
Fay disagrees. 'You are talking about distance and that is one of the goals the average golfer strives for,' he said. 'It is not the ultimate joy - I think the ultimate joy is low scoring.'
But, said Fay, 'you and I both know, the better you are, the more you're going to get out of a club. And that's sort of a cruel irony, that those who need it the most will get the least out of these new clubs, and those who need it the least will get the most.'
Not true, said Callaway. And to emphasize his point, he made an urgent appeal to the USGA to visit his test center near San Diego, Cal.
'We think it (the ERC) brings added qualities for the mid- to high-handicappers,' he said.
If the USGA doesn't alter its stance, Callaway said, it may reach a stage when it has given up the 'consent of the governed to be governed.
'If you don't change you're inflexibility, you're going to find that golfers you are governing are going to rebel.'
'If you let distance go unchecked,' said Fay, 'you are going to have a game which is significantly different from what is today. I must say, I beg to differ.'
Full Coverage of the Club Technology Controversy
What do you think about the non-conforming clubs issue?
Share your thoughts!


Getty Images

Garcia bounced in Austin: 'On to Augusta'

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 6:55 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – For the 16th time in his career, Sergio Garcia’s week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play ended earlier then he would have hoped, but this time he has plenty of distractions to ease the sting.

Garcia lost his Saturday morning match to Kyle Stanley, 3 and 1, marking the 15th time in his Match Play career he’s failed to advance to Sunday, but at least he has plenty to keep him busy with a newborn at home and his return to the Masters looming in two weeks.

“On to Augusta,” said Garcia, who is not playing next week’s Houston Open. “It's exciting. Obviously when we get there, it's going to be interesting to see how we feel and everything. But it is definitely exciting.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia defeated Justin Rose in a playoff to win last year’s Masters, his first major triumph, so his return to Augusta National will be unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

His duties as defending champion will include hosting Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. No word on Garcia’s menu for the event, but various sources have confirmed it will be something “Spanish.”

Getty Images

Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Sweet 16

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

Here is how things played out in the Round of 16 on Saturday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The week began with 64 players taking on Austin Country Club,but the field is dwindling. Click here for Day 3 match results:

Match 97: Bubba Watson (35) def. Brian Harman (18), 2 and 1. Watson was 1 down going to the eighth hole, but he won four of the next five holes to turn around this battle of lefties. A 12-foot putt for eagle at the 12th dropped, giving him a 3 up lead coming home. It was Watson’s second eagle of the day. He looks as if he’s still riding the confidence from that Genesis Open victory last month. Watson will advance to play Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the quarterfinals.

Match 98: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) def. Charles Howell III (59), 1 up. Aphibarnrat won in a late comeback, winning the final two holes. He holed a 9-foot putt for birdie at the 17th to square the match and won with an 8-foot birdie at the last. He had not led all day, not until that last birdie putt dropped. The 28-year-old Thai improved to 4-0 on this world stage after sweeping his group in the round-robin play. A four-time European Tour winner, Aphibarnrat is looking for his first PGA Tour victory. He will meet Bubba Watson in the quarterfinals.

Match 99: Kyle Stanley (45) def. Sergio Garcia (7), 3 and 1. Stanley birdied the eighth, ninth and 10th holes to go 3 up, and then he held off Garcia’s run at him, eliminating the world No. 10 with birdies at the 16th and 17th holes. With the victory, Stanley has a chance at a nice Texas two-step, a chance to eliminate the two highest ranked players left in the field, the only players left among the top 10 in the world ranking. But, there’s hard work to do in the quarterfinals, where Stanley will meet world No. 2 Justin Thomas.

Match 100: Justin Thomas (2) def. Si Woo Kim (50), 6 and 5. Thomas remains on fire in this format, steamrolling Kim a day after completing a round-robin sweep of his group by blowing away Francesco Molinari, 7 and 5. The Kim match felt like it was over shortly after it started, with Thomas making the turn 5 up. Thomas will advance to play Kyle Stanley in the quarterfinals.

Match 101: Cameron Smith (46) def. Tyrell Hatton (12), 2 and 1. Smith found himself behind early, falling 2 down after Hatton opened with back-to-back birdies, but Smith quickly rallied to win one of the best matches of the day. He birdied four of the next five holes to go 1 up. Hatton lost despite making seven birdies on the round. He lost despite making birdies at the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to the red-hot Smith, who made eight birdies. Smith will meet Alex Noren in the quarterfinals.

Match 102: Alex Noren (13) def. Patrick Reed (19), 5 and 3. In this Fire vs. Ice match, Ice won, with Noren making easy work of Reed. Really, though, Reed never got a flame going, and Noren wasn’t going to help him the way Jordan Spieth did a day before. Reed was 2-over on his card before finally making his first and only birdie of the day at the 13th. Somewhere, European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn must have been smiling, watching Noren easily take down the formidable American match-play dynamo. Noren will meet Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals.

Match 103: Ian Poulter (58) def. Louis Oosthuizen (25), 2 and 1. Poulter’s match-play mojo is going strong again, with the Englishman summoning the intensity that has made him so formidable in the Ryder Cup over the years. He was on fire Saturday, making eight birdies over the first 15 holes, if you count the concession he received hitting a wedge to 18 inches at the 13th hole. Poulter put a special putter in the bag this week, using the same flat stick that helped him lead the Euros to their historic comeback victory against the Americans at Medinah in 2012. Though Oosthuizen made four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, he still couldn’t make it close. Poulter will meet Kevin Kisner in the quarterfinals.

Match 104: Kevin Kisner (32) def. Matt Kuchar (16), 1 up. Kuchar applied all kinds of pressure on Kisner on the back nine, but he couldn’t get Kisner to fold in the best match of the day. Kuchar was 2 down with four to go but managed to pull all square going to the last. After missing a 15-footer for birdie at the 18th, Kuchar watched Kisner sink a 12-footer for his birdie to win. Kisner will meet Ian Poulter in the quarterfinals.

Getty Images

JT advances to quarters, closing in on No. 1 ranking

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2018, 5:40 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Justin Thomas continued his impressive run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and finds himself another step closer to overtaking Dustin Johnson in the World Golf Ranking.

Thomas rolled past Si Woo Kim, 6 and 5, in the first knockout stage and will face Kyle Stanley in the Elite Eight. He must advance to Sunday’s championship match to overtake Johnson as the new world No. 1.

“It wasn't anything crazy or special. Just played solid golf tee to green. And it was forcing him to make a lot of putts,” said Thomas, who has played 61 holes this week, won 24, lost six and hasn’t trailed in four matches.

Stanley, who needed a playoff victory over Paul Casey on Friday to advance to the weekend, defeated Sergio Garcia, 3 and 1.

Bubba Watson also continued his solid play, rallying from an early deficit to beat Brian Harman, 2 and 1. He will play Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who defeated Charles Howell III, closing with back-to-back birdies for a 1-up victory.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

But as impressive as Thomas has been, Sweden’s Alex Noren has quietly continued to impress, going undefeated in pool play and closing out Patrick Reed on the 15th hole for a 5-and-3 victory.

“He's such a tough competitor,” said Noren, who will face Australian Cameron Smith in the quarterfinals. “I managed to hole a few birdie putts. When we both had good chances, he just missed and I managed to make those.”

Former Match Play champion Ian Poulter also advanced with a 2-and-1 victory over Louis Oosthuizen. He will play Kevin Kisner, who converted a 10-foot putt at the 18th hole to defeat Matt Kuchar, 1 up.

Getty Images

Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2018, 2:11 am

Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.

She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.

Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.

After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.

“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.

Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).

It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.

“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”

Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.

Full-field scores from the Kia Classic

“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”

Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.

It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.

“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”