Mar
8
2010
PING and PGA Tour Finally Close the Wedge Loophole
By Stephanie Wei under General

Better check that eBay return policy — PING finally gave in to the unnerving pressures of the PGA Tour and waived its rights to a lawsuit that prevented the Tour from banning the 20-year-old wedges with square grooves, which didn’t conform to the new regulations set by the USGA.

As you may recall, the loophole caused some ruckus the other month when Phil Mickelson went on his anti-groove policy crusade. But since then, Phil, along with Fred Couples and Hunter Mahan, put the old wedges back in the garage because, well, Scott McCarron called Phil a cheater.

Tour boss Tim Finchem thanks PING for its appeasement:

John Solheim and PING had a terrific opportunity to do something very positive and significant for the game of golf and we very much appreciate his willingness to take this action.

And this from PING CEO John Solheim:

We all believe it is in the best interests of golf. It levels the playing field on the PGA TOUR and resolves a very unfortunate situation that we predicted would happen when the USGA first proposed the new groove rule more than two years ago. It keeps in place all of our other rights established in the 1993 PGA TOUR settlement and the 1990 USGA settlement, including ensuring amateurs will continue to be able to play their pre-April 1990 EYE2s at all amateur events played under the USGA Rules of Golf.

Beginning on March 29, the old PING Eye 2 clubs will be banned on the PGA, Nationwide and Champions tour. So good news for the average Joe — you can still play with the Eye 2’s in your club championship!

But what’s in it for PING? The AP’s Doug Ferguson explains via Twitter: “A USGA forum this fall that Solheim hopes will give companies a stronger voice when equipment rules are changed.”

Phew, glad that’s been settled. Now I can finally get some sleep.