From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Archive for January 2010

The groove rule is rubbing some players the wrong way

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D-Day for the PGA Tour’s new groove rule came and went January 1st, and of course things haven’t been the same since. With the exception of a couple of players praising the new grooves (which essentially force players to keep the ball in play, or risk a flier lie out of the rough) the comments have been pretty harsh.

But it’s not what you think. While some players have complained about having to switch wedges, more players seem to be frustrated with the game’s lack of consistency with the rules surrounding the wedges. Phil Mickelson was recently quoted discussing the idea of going back to the old Ping i2 wedges, but he said the wedges had to go through two different groups to get approved, a scenario Mickelson views as a ridiculous and arduous process.

I’ve looked at this from a couple of different ways because I’ve tested some of the i2 wedges,” Mickelson said prior to the first round of the Farmers Insurance. “And in dealing with the USGA, we have on one side conforming and legal grooves, and on the other side we have approved for play, and they’re not the same thing. I’ve sent in grooves that are legal but have not been approved for play, and I feel like the i2 grooves are not legal or don’t conform, but they are approved for play.”

So you could essentially have one side of the USGA tell you the wedges are conforming, and then the other tell you they’re not approved for play. How in the world does that make sense? I’m sure players will be ecstatic when they hear the news!

Lee Westwood is so frustrated with the new grooves rule — he did miss the cut last week at Abu Dhabi last week, so I’m sure his beef is a bit more personal — that he’s hoping the tour considers a grooves policy, a la Formula One. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jonathan Wall

01/28/2010 at 8:08 pm

Mickelson set to skip Accenture Match Play Championship

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Lost amongst Phil Mickelson’s Tuesday presser conference that centered around his opening comments on Tiger Woods and his absence from the game of golf was another tidbit that’s worth mentioning — especially given the fact that Mickelson is now the tour’s prized asset until the world’s number one player returns.

Mickelson announced amid a packed press room that he’ll be skipping the Accenture Match Play in Tuscon, Arizona, later this year to spend more time with his family.

We had a couple of procedures scheduled for this off-season that got postponed for various reasons, and we had to move it into March, and this affected some of our family trips. So how this is playing out is the week of the Tucson Match Play is a week that my kids are out of school and that I’m going to end up skipping this year, not because I want to. I think it’s a wonderful tournament, I love the Match Play, I love Tucson. But it was the best week for us to have a family vacation that we had to reschedule because, again, of our procedures.

I expect this to kind of happen a little bit throughout the year, maybe missing tournaments I would like to play or normally would play. But later on in the year I’ll probably add a tournament that I hadn’t originally planned on playing to kind of offset it. So I just wanted to — that just came about in the last couple of weeks.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

01/27/2010 at 9:08 pm

Here’s hoping Bubba Watson wins the Bob Hope Classic

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With the final group on the course for today’s final round of the Bob Hope Classic, I figured it made sense to put my chips on the table and pick a horse to root for this afternoon. While it’d be really easy to pull for Matt Kuchar or Ryan Moore to hoist the trophy, I think most golf fans are in agreement that one name would really add a little spice to the event if he won, and that player is Bubba Watson.

Watson, one of the big bombers on tour, is looking to secure his first tour victory in California, after falling short in the past. Tiger’s departure from the tour for an undisclosed amount of time means other players could should step up and carry the torch in his absence. One of them could be Watson.

Honestly, I’d love to see Watson win if for no other reason than to see him get off the schnide. But screw it, there’s a better reason to see Big Bubba win, and that’s the “gift” he plans on buying win he makes it to the winners circle.

“I’m definitely going to get me a Dukes of Hazzard car, a replica that I’m definitely going to get if I win a golf tournament, because my wife said I can do that if I win,” he said. “So if I win, I’m getting a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee.”

General Lee. Are you kidding me? Forget buying a second home or a new Rolex for his watch collection, he’s rather have the car from the Dukes of Hazzard. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if there’s a better tournament victory gift out there. Scratch that, there is no better gift out there.

Here’s hoping Watson has the horsepower to overtake the rest of the field.

Written by Jonathan Wall

01/25/2010 at 6:32 pm