PGA Tour moves forward with groove changes

By Rex HoggardJune 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
BETHESDA, Md. ' One of the most heated debates among PGA Tour decision-makers ended Tuesday at Congressional with a whimper when Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced the circuit will not delay the enactment of a new rule governing the size and shape of grooves in players irons.
The rule will take effect as it was originally crafted on Jan. 1, 2010, despite objections from some golf equipment manufacturers and Tour players.
We do think there are some challenges here, Finchem said. We are comfortable that we can meet the challenges, and we have great faith in our players. We just felt that delaying at this point in time probably was not in our overall best interests.
Tuesdays meeting ' which lasted over two hours and included Finchem, the four player representatives on the policy board (Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, David Toms and Brad Faxon) and incoming board member Davis Love III ' ended weeks of speculation that the rule would be delayed a year, primarily to give manufacturers and players a chance to test the new equipment.
I couldnt be more surprised if I woke up and my head was sewn to the carpet, said Joe Ogilvie, one of 16 members on the Player Advisory Council and a former policy board member.
On the eve of the final meeting Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim issued a statement not only calling for the delay, but for the rule to be dismissed altogether. Acushnet, the parent company for Titleist, followed Finchems announcement with an overview of the companys concerns: Making a change of this precedential significance requires that the conversion process be conducted in a thorough, deliberate manner taking the interests of all constituencies into account. . . . Player reaction to what they saw was dramatic. They were caught off guard by the magnitude of the performance difference and expressed concern about the extent of the transition process.
The policy board, which consists of the four players mentioned above and four independent directors, did not vote on the possible delay. Instead, the decision was left up to Finchem and his staff, like most rules or conditions to competition.
(Finchem) had the views of the board and the PAC, but everybody had too much of a conflict of interest, said Tom Pernice Jr., a member of the PAC. It was best left up to (Finchem).
Finchem said the Tour will begin a full-court press to educate players on the new grooves similar to the campaign the Tour launched when it began drug testing. He said the circuit will set up testing centers at courses adjacent tournament sites in the coming weeks, like Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York, for testing and a device will be made available each week to test the grooves in players wedges.
Player reaction was mixed in the wake of the news, but all were confident there would be enough time after the season ended to test new wedges ' many irons in play on Tour already use the conforming V grooves, which are not as sharp-edged as the nonconforming U-shaped grooves.
The top 20 in the world are still going to be in the top 20, said George McNeill, a PAC member. I think youll see a little more shot making, a little more thought of where you want to put your golf ball on the course.
Many observers say the new grooves will prompt some players to use new golf balls in order to compensate for the loss of spin. According to Acushnet the new grooves will result in a 30- to 50-percent reduction in spin rate, which in turn could prompt some players to adjust their drivers and irons.
It'll be interesting seeing guys catching fliers and not being able to spin the ball back out of the rough, Tiger Woods said. Their decision is how they play par 5s whether they will try and drive drivable par 4s now. Short-siding yourself is obviously going to pay a little more of a price, and you know, how many more 64-degree wedges you're going to see with the balls being as firm as they are.
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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 5:30 pm

Tiger Woods held sole possession of the lead Sunday afternoon, but settled with an even-par 71 and finished three shots behind the champion.

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'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

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.”

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Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 3:42 pm

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:

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

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.