Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update on Grooves: We're Working on It

David Fay was part of a press conference with Mike Davis and others from the USGA at Interlachen. Finally, someone asked about grooves and what in the world is going on with them and the regulation.

Q. David, could we get an update on the groove situation? Wasn't that due for some sort of roll out in January, I think, in theory? Has there been any developments on that front or are we going to have to all change irons?

DAVID FAY: The latest update is there's no update. We are still on track, we hope. There are a number of components that we have to get everything resolved. A number of -- and we're moving ahead on that. But to give you a timetable at this time, it would be premature.
I don't know that you can be on track without having a timeline to follow, but if there was none to begin with, then maybe they are on schedule. As rumors have swirled about input from manufacturers (there has been a lot, per Dick Rugge) and the ability to test conformity, there has been little from the USGA about the process. They have been very closely guarded on the subject. I'm not sure what that says about how it is going, but it is in stark contrast to what General Motors is doing in its development of the Chevy Volt. There was a piece on it in the Atlantic Monthly that was really intriguing about opening the lab doors to the media. I digress, though.
Q. R & A still a part of the equation in getting them signed up for the same time?

DAVID FAY: Well the R & A, it's a change in equipment, a change in any rule will not happen unless both sides support it. Fully. The fact that you've not heard anything should not be construed as meaning there's a problem. It's just that we -- anything dealing with equipment, particularly these days, is complex. You deal with the specifications, manufacturing tolerances, I think that one thing I would say that we have never, at least in my experience at the USGA, researched and done the lab testing and the player testing to the degree that we have with this subject of grooves.
As you could expect, we are not going for bifurcation between the governing bodies and it is nice to hear the USGA reassure us of that. I think Fay's response is a window into the problems, though, challenging the change. The manufacturers push back, Peter Dawson keeps butchering Open rota courses in the interim (and LOVES it!), etc. It's tough to get the stars to align.

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