The Great Washington Grooves Debacle
By Stephanie Wei under General

A week has passed since the last putt dropped at the US Women’s Open Sectional Qualifier at Tumble Creek in Roslyn, WA, and the winner for the one spot in the US Women’s Open at Oakmont has yet to be determined. What’s the holdup? Grooves, naturally!

Christine Wong, of Richmond, B.C., and Erynne Lee (pictured above), of Silverdale, WA, ended up in a playoff after they fired a pair of 147s in the 36-hole qualifier. Lee won the second playoff hole with a par. Not so fast!

Playing in wet conditions (May in WA? No way!), several of Lee’s competitors just happened to notice she was getting more spin out of the wet rough than the other players. (Let me guess — “competitors” actually means “parents.”) It was requested for officials to check Lee’s wedges for conformity with the new regulations.

Brent Kelley of About.com Golf reported on the ongoing controversy — which went something like this. Initially, an official thought it “appeared” Lee’s grooves were non-conforming because one was on the banned list while the conformity of the two other wedges couldn’t be determined.

After a closer look and discussions with USGA officials, “the one wedge that was originally believed non-conforming became something of a mystery, with discrepancies discovered between its serial/model numbers and the nonconforming list,” Kelley wrote. And the other wedges remained an enigma, too — neither appear on the good or bad list.

So then, the curious wedges were sent to the USGA for inspection. No word on the verdict yet, but I’m sure we’ll hear soon whether Lee will be scorned as a cheater for the rest of her career (even if it was an honest mistake; people have long memories with that kinda thing) — or whether she’s really just a better chipper than everyone else. If the latter is the case, then maybe the fussy parents should mind their own business her fellow competitors should practice harder.