USGA Makes Proposals on Grooves Adjustable Clubs

By Usga News ServicesFebruary 27, 2007, 5:00 pm
USGAFAR HILLS, N.J. -- The United States Golf Association has introduced two proposals to change the Rules governing golf clubs. The first proposal would introduce new regulations for grooves. The second proposal calls for a relaxed standard concerning the adjustable features of woods and irons.
 
These proposals represent the comprehensive, deliberate and thoughtful nature of the USGAs equipment research. USGA Senior Technical Director Dick Rugge said. In one instance, were proposing new restrictions on groove configurations to maintain the element of skill at the games highest level. In the other case, were relaxing standards of adjustability because we believe these changes will benefit all golfers by allowing them to have a better chance to use clubs that can be fitted to their individual swing characteristics.
 
Proposal for New Groove Regulations
In March 2005, the USGA informed club manufacturers that it would conduct research on the topic of spin generation. Since that time, the USGA and its rulemaking partner, the R&A, have jointly conducted significant research into how groove designs affect spin and other performance characteristics. In August 2006, the USGA and the R&A sent a technical report summarizing the progress of their research to golf club manufacturers. The USGA and the R&A sent an additional research report to these same club manufacturers about this topic in January 2007.
 
The research findings clearly demonstrate that for shots struck by clubs from the rough with urethane covered balls (the type of ball used by most highly skilled players), modern square or U-shaped groove clubs result in higher ball spin rates and steeper ball landing angles than V-shaped groove designs that were predominantly used in the past. The combination of a higher spin rate and steeper landing angle results in better control and less difficulty for shots hit from the rough to putting greens. As this degree of difficulty for shots hit from the rough has decreased, the importance of driving accuracy on the PGA TOUR has lessened.
 
The skill of driving the ball accurately has become much less important in achieving success on TOUR than it used to be, Rugge said. Our analysis of statistical data measured by the PGA TOUR since 1980 shows that historically driving accuracy was as comparably correlated to winning as putting. Beginning in the early 1990s, however, driving accuracy became much less important. Today, the correlation between driving-accuracy rank and money winning rank on the PGA TOUR is very low.
 
Therefore, the USGA proposes to change the rules governing grooves. The objective of this change is to limit the performance of grooves on shots from the rough to that of the traditional V-groove design. While currently conforming clubs with V-shaped grooves would continue to conform under the proposed new rules, the changes do not mandate the use of a V-shape. Rather, they permit club designers to vary groove width, depth, spacing and shape to create clubs that conform to this proposed groove rule.
 
The proposal calls for two key additional groove specifications for clubs. One would call for groove edge sharpness to be limited to an effective minimum radius of .010 inches. The second would limit the total cross-sectional area of a groove divided by the groove pitch (width plus separation) to 0.0025 square inches per inch.
 
The changes in grooves required under the USGAs proposal would have very little effect on the performance of Surlyn balls favored by most golfers. More than two-thirds of golf balls sold in the U.S. are Surlyn covered. The impact of this proposal would be felt primarily by highly skilled players using urethane-covered balls.
 
The USGA proposes that these new groove rules become effective for all new clubs covered by this rule change that are manufactured after Jan. 1, 2010. A related Condition of Competition would be added to the USGA Rules of Golf to become effective Jan. 1, 2009. This Condition would allow a Committee to require the use of clubs that conform to the new groove rules for competitive events conducted after Jan. 1, 2009. Similar to other equipment-related Conditions of Competition, the USGA would recommend that the Condition apply only to competitions involving highly skilled players.
 
The USGA is considering how to treat clubs that currently conform to the Rules of Golf, but would not conform to the proposed new rules. This consideration would be made for the vast majority of golfers who would not likely be affected by the proposed Condition of Competition, as well as for golf clubs already in use and /or manufactured prior to the proposed rule implementation date. The USGA proposes to allow their use for a lengthy period of time (at least 10 years). As part of this Notice, the USGA requests opinions, comments, or any other type of helpful information from golfers, club professionals, manufacturers, retailers, golf organizations, and other interested parties regarding the future status of such golf clubs.
 
Written comments regarding these proposed changes governing grooves are welcomed and should be sent to the USGA, attention Dick Rugge, P.O. Box 708, Far Hills, NJ 07931, Fax 908-234-0138, e-mail: drugge@usga.org . Written comments received later than Aug. 1, 2007, will not be considered.
 
Proposal for Club Adjustability
In March of 2005, the USGA first indicated an interest in allowing more types of adjustable features on woods and irons. The Rules of Golf currently state that woods and irons must not be designed to be adjustable, except for weight. In making this proposal, the USGA considers relaxing certain aspects of its regulations by allowing more types of adjustable features to be used in woods and irons. The USGA believes these changes regarding adjustability can help many golfers obtain clubs that are well suited to their needs without causing any harm to the game. In accordance with past practices, no adjustments to clubs would be allowed during a stipulated round.
 
After we informed club manufacturers that we were looking into relaxing this rule, some of them told us that allowing more club adjustment would allow them to create new types of golf clubs that could help average golfers, Rugge said. The USGA believes that helping average golfers without taking away from the challenge of the game is a good thing for golf.
 
Rugge continued: PGA TOUR players have long had the opportunity to have their clubs adjusted or modified quickly and often. This has allowed them to fit their clubs to their swings as they feel the need to do so. By relaxing the rules to permit club adjustability, average golfers can enjoy similar fitting benefits.
 
The USGA proposes that the rule change to allow more adjustability of golf clubs, if adopted, would become effective Jan. 1, 2008.
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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.