Getting into the Groove
Recently, the Unites States Golf Association made public its intention to propose rule changes that would limit the way golf equipment manufacturers make grooves on their clubs. This has been a subject of controversy for many years. Now in a letter, the USGA has requested that the manufacturers respond by August 1 with their opinions. I believe this proposal is long overdue.
Essentially, what the USGA is proposing is to limit the size of the current
U-shaped or square grooves so that the club does not impart any more spin on the golf ball than the standard V-grooves. It is estimated that a U-grooved club spins the ball 50% to 100% more revolutions per minute than a club with
V-grooves. The net effect of all this is that players at the highest skill level can hit the ball higher and softer out of thicker and deeper grass. It has dramatically changed the way that tour professionals play the game.
I first remember a shot that Mark Calcavecchia hit out of the rough at The Honda Classic right after the square grooves became legal. It was eye-popping and it didnt take long for the trend to catch on. Golf at the highest level changed from being more a shot-makers game to being more of a power game hit the ball as far as possible and take your chances with a shorter iron even if the ball was in the rough. I was astounded when Vijay Singh utilized this philosophy at the 2003 U.S. Open at Olympia Fields. Honda Classic rough is one thing, but this was the U.S. Open.
There have been many equipment innovations over the years that have dramatically changed the way PGA TOUR and other top level golfers play the game, but none more so than these U-grooves.
On the PGA TOUR, driving accuracy has become one of the least relevant statistics and driving distance has become one of the most. A few years back, of the PGA TOURs top four leading money winners, none ranked within the top 100 in driving accuracy -- yet all four ranked within the top 10 in driving distance. Power has become the name of the game.
At the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in 1995 Ill never forget Corey Pavin hitting the majestic 4-wood into the 72nd green for victory. In the 2004 U.S. Open, again on the 72nd hole, Retief Goosen hit a wedge into that very same green. Long drivers with todays big-headed metal clubs are exciting as are short irons out of the rough to a tightly placed hole location. But I still believe the most exciting shot in golf is a long iron or a fairway wood into a small green. These are the shot-makers shots.
I applaud the USGA for making the groove change proposal. It is bold, but necessary. I hope the equipment manufacturers agree and all indications are that this change would have very little effect on the average golfer. However, at the championship level, a change like this can only help protect the integrity of this great game. Its the right thing to do and the right time. In fact, its about time!
THAT'S MY VIEW!
Editors Note: Mark Rolfing, a Maui resident, is one of the leading forces in sports event marketing and production in Hawaii. As NBC Sports award-winning golf commentator, Rolfing continues to cover top golf events such as the prestigious Ryder Cup, The Players Championship and The U.S Open. Rolfing also hosts Golf Hawaii on The Golf Channel. Golf Hawaii, now in its twelfth season is one of the longest running sports shows in the nation.
'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.
Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.
“Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”
Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.
Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.
With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.
“The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is stalking his 15th career major championship trophy. Follow the action with our tracker to see if he can get it done at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger
Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.
His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.
We're compiling their missives below:
Starting to wonder how many Tiggy is going to win by here........... #isheback— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
Tiger is leading the open pic.twitter.com/MbGnJIt1Jj— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) July 22, 2018
That FW bunker shot by Tiger tho... pic.twitter.com/Fi3GY6AegO— Scott Langley (@Scott_Langley) July 22, 2018
Tiger back doing Tiger stuff.......— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
I love you https://t.co/JovVz2clm2— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) July 22, 2018
Omg lesgo @TigerWoods— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) July 22, 2018
Right now, Tiger is like everyone’s ex who we’ve given way too many 2nd chances to, and he has the opportunity to rip your heart right out of your chest but we’re all ok with it because we tend to only remember the good times— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 22, 2018
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)
7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.
4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.