Callaway Fay Debate Non-Conforming Clubs
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
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Lewis says she's expecting first child in November
Stacy Lewis is pregnant.
The 12-time LPGA winner confirmed after Thursday’s first round of the Mediheal Championship that she and her husband, University of Houston women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, are expecting their first child on Nov. 3.
Lewis learned she was pregnant after returning home to Houston in late February following her withdrawal from the HSBC Women’s World Championship with a strained oblique muscle.
“We're obviously really excited,” Lewis said. “It wasn't nice I was hurt, but it was nice that I was home when I found out with [Gerrod]. We're just really excited to start a family.”
Lewis is the third big-name LPGA player preparing this year to become a mother for the first time. Suzann Pettersen announced last month that she’s pregnant, due in the fall. Gerina Piller is due any day.
Piller’s husband, PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, withdrew from the Zurich Classic on Thursday to be with her. Piller and Lewis have been U.S. Solheim Cup partners the last two times the event has been played.
“It's going to be fun raising kids together,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, they're best friends and they hang out. But just excited about the next few months and what it's going to bring.”
Lewis, a former Rolex world No. 1 and two-time major championship winner, plans to play through the middle of July, with the Marathon Classic her last event of the year. She will be looking to return for the start of the 2019 season. The LPGA’s maternity leave policy allows her to come back next year with her status intact.
“This year, the golf might not be great, but I've got better things coming in my life than a golf score.” Lewis said. “I plan on coming back and traveling on the road with the baby, and we'll figure it out as we go.”
Coach scores in NFL Draft and on golf course
To say that Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had a good day Thursday would be an understatement. Not only did his team snag one of the top defensive players in the NFL Draft - Georgia outside linebacker Roquan Smith, who the Bears took with the eighth pick of the first round - but earlier in the day Fangio, 59, made a hole-in-one, sinking a 9-iron shot from 125 yards at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha, Wis.
Perhaps the ace isn't so surprising, though. In late May 2017, Fangio made another hole-in-one, according to a tweet from the Bears. The only information supplied on that one was the distance - 116 yards.
Who knew defensive wizard Vic Fangio was also a golf wizard? He sank a 116-yard hole-in-one over the weekend. Congrats, Coach! pic.twitter.com/qNQTMfDsDF— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) May 30, 2017
Gooch chooses 'life over a good lie' with gators nearby
AVONDALE, La. – A fairway bunker wasn’t Talor Gooch’s only hazard on the 18th hole at TPC Louisiana.
Gooch’s ball came to rest Thursday within a few feet of three gators, leading to a lengthy delay as he sorted out his options.
Chesson Hadley used a rake to nudge two of the gators on the tail, sending them back into the pond surrounding the green. But the third gator wouldn’t budge.
“It woke him up from a nap,” Gooch said, “and he was hissing away and wasn’t happy.”
The other two gators remained in the water, their eyes fixed on the group.
“I’m sure we would have been fine, but any little movement by them and no chance I would have made solid contact,” he said.
A rules official granted Gooch free relief, away from the gator, but he still had to drop in the bunker. The ball plugged.
“I chose life over a good lie in that situation,” he said.
He splashed out short of the green, nearly holed out his pitch shot and made par to cap off an eventful 6-under 66 with partner Andrew Landry.
“It was my first gator par,” he said. “I’ll take it.”
Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury
AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.
“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”
The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.
He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.
Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.
“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”