Mickelson’s PING Groove Gambit, as Finchem Saw It

Comes word from examiner.com that Phil Mickelson won’t use any of his vintage PING Eye2 wedges in this week’s Northern Trust Open in L.A.  Mickelson’s defense of his no-U-groove loophole use was pretty convincing, in my view–if you’ve got a taste for eloquent legalese.

Speaking of which, I saw a  classic little exchange on the subject between PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and the media, as printed on an interview transcript. After Finchem made the statement, the grousing about Phil’s use of the ancient Eye2 wedges flared up on tour on a couple of occasions. Maybe the little bit of extra bite wasn’t worth the trouble. Here’s the transcript excerpt:

Q. Commissioner , there’s obviously a loophole in the new grooves restrictions. Is taking advantage of that loophole an insult to the honor of golf? Is something going to have to be changed on that?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: By loophole, you’re referring to the Ping Eye2 pre-1990 golf club?

Q. Yes.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: It is a bit of a loophole, but last year we looked carefully at this, and our experts did not view this distinction of any significance. So rather than part ways with the USGA in terms of what they would have to do at the U.S. Open, at that time we elected to stay the course. We just the other day reviewed the data again. We just don’t see any competitive advantage, any material competitive advantage to a player by going back and getting a club that was made pre-1990. But we’ll continue to evaluate it. But at this point in time, no, we don’t see any erosion of competitive balance because of that particular situation.

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