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Why JoAnne Carner’s 30-year-old wedge was deemed non-conforming at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

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Per Beth Ann Nichols’ of Golfweek, seven of the 20 clubs USGA officials tested on site at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open were deemed to be nonconforming.

“It’s not often that the USGA places someone from its conforming department at registration, but with so many players in the field who are competing in a USGA event for the first time in a long time, it seemed like a good idea,” she wrote.

Indeed. And while we don’t have any information on six of the violations, Nichols related the story of (the legendary) JoAnne Carner, who was told the 55-degree Wilson R-90 wedge she’s had in the bag for nearly 30 years didn’t conform.

This seemed odd. Certainly a three-decade old club wouldn’t feature any of the aggressive, early 2000s grooves that led to the enactment of the groove rule. It’s unclear what year Carner’s wedge was from, but R-90 production (of the style hers is presumed to be) ended in 1992.

When reached for comment Julia Pine, Manager, Championship Communications, told us: “We introduced a new groove condition of competition in 2010 for Open championships. We offer assistance and testing prior to and on site at our championships, and when tested her club was deemed not to comply.”

Asked for more information, Pine indicated the organization didn’t have additional details  on the specific problem with Carner’s grooves.

A quick groove rule refresher.

Rules of Golf, Appendix II: 5c(i)

  • Grooves must be straight and parallel.
  • Grooves must have a symmetrical cross-section and have sides which do not converge (see Fig. XI).
  • *For clubs that have a loft angle greater than or equal to 25 degrees, grooves must have a plain cross-section.
  • The width, spacing and cross-section of the grooves must be consistent throughout the impact area (some exceptions may be made for woods).
  • The width (W) of each groove must not exceed 0.035 inches (0.9 mm), using the 30 degree method of measurement on file with the USGA.
  • The distance between edges of adjacent grooves (S) must not be less than three times the width of the grooves, and not less than 0.075 inches (1.905 mm).
  • The depth of each groove must not exceed 0.020 inches (0.508 mm).
  • *For clubs other than driving clubs, the cross-sectional area (A) of a groove divided by the groove pitch (W+S) must not exceed 0.0030 square inches per inch (0.0762 mm2/mm) (see Fig. XII).
  • Grooves must not have sharp edges or raised lips.
  • For clubs that have a loft angle greater than or equal to 25 degrees, groove edges must be substantially in the form of a round having an effective radius which is not less than 0.010 inches (0.254 mm) when measured as shown in Fig. XIII, and not greater than 0.020 inches (0.508 mm). Deviations in effective radius within 0.001 inches (0.0254 mm) are permissible.

What do you think the issue could be? Grooves worn too deep after 30 years of use? A sweet-spot sized indentation? Surely the R-90 isn’t a non-conforming club, right?

GolfWRX members: What do you think?

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Brian

    Jul 14, 2018 at 8:09 am

    As I stated in my email to Ben, the USGA and the R&A are in cahoots with the manufacturers, brown envelopes probably going in loads of back pockets.

    They, (the manufacturers) are running out of marketing ideas as there is very little that can be done to improve the performance of a golf club legally, so to get around it they come up with rules banning old proven equipment that has been “on the wing” for decades, to force the punters to dig deep, and at around £120 a pop they are quid’s in!

  2. Brad

    Jul 14, 2018 at 7:18 am

    The USGA can take most of their “non-conforming” rules they come up with and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine. Such as they one they recently threw at Bryson DeChambeau for the second time in as many years. They do a fantastic job at taking as much fun out of golf as they can. I’m sure that JoAnne’s 30 year old wedge was going to give her a huge advantage over the rest of the field. Oh wait, I thought all of this “new” technology in golf was what was making it easier, not 30 year old clubs? Can’t have it both ways USGA. Perhaps the golf ball from 1992 would be ruled non-conforming as well because they wouldn’t be able to hit it as far (apparently), but it would spin more?

    It’s time for a new world of golf that doesn’t include the USGA…

  3. Dan Retief

    Jul 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

    I have an original Wilson R20 Sand Iron, apparently one of the first ones developed by Gene Sarazen. It has dots/pock marks stamped into the face instead of grooves. Wonder if I could put it back in the bag

  4. Clint

    Jul 13, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Still waiting for the answer the headline led everyone to believe the article had.

    • Jim McPherson

      Jul 13, 2018 at 5:47 pm

      Misleading for sure…

      Getting very tired of this kind of BS from gwrx when they know they don’t have a real story…

    • Wiger Toods

      Jul 15, 2018 at 2:39 am

      Agreed. There’s too much actual, interesting content for them to be putting up this Trumpy clickbait.

  5. Liberty Apples

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    No need for the possessive in first reference to “Nichols’”.

  6. Parker

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    Wr is on his burner account. (He secretely works for the USGA)

  7. Andrew Levy

    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    The USGA is trying to ruin golf for everyone slowly. It is their mission. Has everyone not been watching? Mike Davis and the other blue blazer white guys want america back to the way it was 1910 golf in shirts and ties. Wooden shafts, terrible balls golf course that are so short that you can skip a stone across it.

  8. DJ

    Jul 12, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    They should list why they fail not just say they do.

    • Is

      Jul 12, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      They don’t conform to the current rules. Simples

  9. Chris Embardino

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Jsut the USGA being the USGA is all it is.

  10. CR

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    A golf buddy of mine has 2 of those wedges and he puts a ton of spin on the ball with them. Maybe they had unusually deep or sharp grooves for the times.

  11. stevez

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    another USGA PR black eye, worn out R90, my-my played by a legend who likely is there for sentimental reasons not a high choice of winning.

  12. DB

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I agree, the groove rule was a complete waste of time and money. It accomplished nothing other than making everyone buy new wedges. Now they are busting 70 year-old women playing in USGA golf tournaments. Nice work. LOL

  13. jc

    Jul 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    what a load…after forcing people to buy all new wedges, they found out that it made no difference…because they have slightly less spin, they get CLOSER to the hole because they roll out more…..no more sucking back into the bunker like Norman used to do…
    a bunch of stuffed white shirts with ties.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon

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Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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Jean van de Velde’s 1999 British Open collapse is still tough to watch in LEGO form

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Gather ‘round, golf fans, for the saddest British Open story ever told–in LEGOs.

Maestro of the plastic medium, Jared Jacobs, worked his singular magic on Jean van de Velde’s notorious final-hole collapse at Carnoustie in 1999.

The interlocking plastic brick cinema begins after van de Velde’s approach shot has caromed off a grandstand railing to land on the opposite side of the Barry Burn.

 

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Sung Kang finally responds to cheating allegations

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Sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled British Open programming, but Sung Kang stated today he still doesn’t think he didn’t anything wrong. “I followed the rules by the rules official…I think I did the right thing,” he said after his opening round at The Open.

Joel Dahmen, if you recall, accused the 31-year-old pro of taking a bad drop at the 10th hole during the final round of the Quicken Loans National.

The comments were Kang’s first public remarks since a statement co-released with the PGA Tour which said, “He is standing by the ruling that was made by PGA Tour Rules officials on Sunday and will have no further comment.”

While he stopped short of giving his side of the story, Kang did indeed make “further comment.”

Here’s some of what he said.

“I did not want to say anything bad about Joel. Because there can be difference of opinions. But the way he just said it on Twitter was not right. There can be different opinions. And also, it was made a decision by the rules official. So nothing was wrong.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened, but no comment because I’m not going to say anything. I think I made the right decision. … Even when I say something, a few people still kind of think i still did something wrong. And if someone believes in me, they aren’t going to trust what Joel said.”

“No matter what I say, some people are going to trust it, some people are not going to trust it. And then I’m going to be thinking about it more and more. So I’m just focusing on my golf game.”

The British press asked Kang if he wishes he had done anything differently.

“No. Why? I did the right thing,” Kang replied.

Now, I’m not here to argue one way or the other, but the rules official wasn’t in position to do anything other than leave things at the player’s discretion, which he did. So, it’s misleading–if not downright deceptive–for Kang to suggest otherwise.

The official didn’t see the shot. There was no video of it. The only thing he had to rely on was the accounts of those who did see it. In a situation where accounts vary, and with the Rules of Golf relying on player integrity as they do, all he could do was leave the ball in Kang’s court. Thus, the decision as to where to drop was wholly Sung Kang’s.

Again, this isn’t to say the drop was necessarily bad, bad to play the “decision by the rules official” card is, well, a bad drop.

 

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