Feb
11
2010
USGA and Ping Not Ready to See Eye to Eye
By Stephanie Wei under General

Well, depending on how you interpret their non-statement statements.

Officials from the USGA and Ping met in Dallas earlier this week to thrash out a solution to the whole grooves controversy. You know, the one where players can use old Ping Eye2 wedges that don’t conform with the new grooves regulations, but are legal because of a lawsuit that dates back to when I was, like, still wearing diapers.

USGA President Jim Hyler issued this release on Wednesday:

We met with representatives from Ping yesterday. Our conversation with Ping regarding the status of the Ping Eye 2 irons on the major professional American tours was productive, and we are hopeful that a solution can be found that respects and reflects the best interests of golfers and the game.

Golf.com’s David Dusek posted this e-mail statement from Ping:

“We had a productive meeting with the USGA yesterday regarding the PING EYE2 groove debate on the PGA Tour,” said PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim. “I’m encouraged by their willingness to openly discuss some of the challenges the golf industry faces relating to equipment issues. We left the meeting with an understanding we would continue to seek a solution that benefits golfers and acknowledges the importance innovation plays in the game.”

So basically, whatever ideas thrown around were rejected. My guess is that Ping was unwilling to overturn the old lawsuits without some sort of big payout — one the USGA can’t afford.

Over at the PGATour.com, the staff writers interjected this passive-aggressive (but true) line:

Ping plays the biggest role in any solution because of its lawsuits against the USGA and PGA TOUR over square grooves.

Meanwhile, at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the guy who ignited the “Groovesgate” (what is the deal with attaching “gate” to every scandal in golf?) fiasco when he opted to play with a Ping Eye2 wedge a few weeks ago, Phil Mickelson, apparently hasn’t just made his “point,” he’s done talking about the matter. For now at least:

Q. What do you think about the USGA and Solheim. I guess they’re having talks about the whole…
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I don’t know. I just got off the course, so I haven’t heard what’s transpired.

I guess he was too tired to rant after signing all those autographs, or Callaway finally told him to shut up.