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19th Hole

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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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Bob Parson Jr.

    Jul 22, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    Another reason why I’m not a member of the USGA. Nothing more than a golf mafia.

  2. 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!

  3. 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…

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. Liberty Apples

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:56 pm

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

  7. Parker

    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:33 pm

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Chris Embardino

    Jul 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

    Jsut the USGA being the USGA is all it is.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

Ratings flop: Bryson vs Brooks fails to attract interest in least-viewed edition of ‘The Match’

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Despite the public rows and insults, the ‘cartoon’ bravado, Instagram posts and supposed hate, television viewers were simply not interested in tuning in to the recent ‘grudge’ match between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.

As reported by Bunkered, the 12-hole matchplay that mimicked the 12 rounds of a boxing match, had Phil Mickelson as a star commentator and was plugged to death by TNT, but still less than 635,000 viewers tuned in, a hugely disappointing figure given the previous four episodes of the feature.

The idea became a ‘must’ watch when the inaugural episode featured Tiger Woods and Mickelson in November 2018, whilst each of the following three episodes have also received viewing figures of over 1 million.

At its height, The Match 2 was seen by 5.8million viewers, although that particular game was arranged in May 2020, the height of the COVID pandemic.

Whilst viewers were starved of almost any live sporting action at the time, it remains that a friendly jolly-up between Tiger and Peyton Manning, Phil and Tom Brady still saw nearly 10 times the viewers of a much more hyped game.

The Match 3 (July 2021) had a final figure of around 1.25 million and the recent final round of the CJ Cup, a run-of-the-mill PGA Tour event, also saw a higher Nielsen rating, the figure used to assess television size and composition.

In the end, of course, Koepka won well before the end, winning 4 & 3, and nobody really cared.

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19th Hole

‘Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this’ – Bryson has Eureka discovery with golf swing

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The evolution of Bryson DeChambeau’s golf swing has been fascinating to watch over the past couple of seasons.

In two years, the 28-year-old has gone from T34 in driving distance to the longest hitter in the game, and while on a recent night range session, he appears to have found a formula to hit it even farther and straighter.

In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Bryson is hitting balls alongside Long Drive Pro Martin Borgmeier when DeChambeau had a breakthrough that both men agreed was a ‘Eureka’ moment for the Californian.

After piping a drive dead center early in the session, Bryson excitedly exclaimed, “Oh my god, I’ve finally figured something out”, before going into detail, saying:

“So, when I try to apply force internally, it gets the handle there (in front of body, clubface open)…that’s right. But if I can feel like my wrist is behind my elbow as I’m swinging, it keeps the head more ahead of me.

It needs to stop (forearm/wrist) so that the handle can go forward and keep turning through. Whereas, if I keep applying force, it’s going to keep the wrist going that way (central) and keep the face open.”

After figuring out this ‘Eureka’ moment, Bryson then implored amateur golfers to try different things as “if you don’t hit the golf ball good with a thought process in the first two, three shots, it’s not working.”

Going back to his new swing discovery, Bryson says

“What I’ve found was, when this right forearm goes internal, there’s obviously weight and inertia over here (clubface), and when I apply force, that’s going to make the clubface go open. If I’m strong enough, obviously, I’m going to do that (flip forearm/hands), but then the face to path is way closed. 

So I want to feel like I’m stopping and allowing the hands to go through so I can create this in and out path, and it’s helping to initially close the face.”

With Martin Borgmeier, the two agree that the new swing move helps both path and face but were both fascinated to see how it could eventually affect the speed aspect too.

Between each other, the two big-hitters also agreed that speed would slow down until Bryson began timing it correctly but that it could actually end up adding speed. And that’s exactly what happened. 

After hitting several more shots perfectly with a little draw, Bryson noted how “it’s a way to stabilize everything and control the timing of the closure rate”. The next aspect? Adding speed.

After stabilizing his swing with the new discovery, Bryson ramped up the speed while still hammering each shot down the middle.

Within 15 minutes, Bryson was hitting his 8-iron with a slight draw and reached 163mph ball speed. Something he had never achieved before.

The Californian finished up his session saying: 

“Had a Eureka moment. Figured out something in regards to biomechanics and physics of the swing just in regards to this right forearm’s internal rotation, how it applies force to the club, how that translates into the momentum of the clubhead squaring up or not squaring up. Long story short, I got something unique and cool.”

How impressed was Long Drive Pro Borgmeier with not just the discovery but how Bryson used it to gain speed in such a short space of time? Very. He said:

“Doing that in 15 minutes and how he progressed through it, that was very impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen this year.”

Subscribe to Bryson’s YouTube channel here.

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19th Hole

2021 Hero World Challenge: Best Match Bet of the week

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Colleague Matt Vincenzi makes a terrific case for ‘local’ Justin Rose to contend strongly at Albany this week, and with the same thought processes leading the @LostForePod to independently conclude the same on the other side of the pond, there had to be a way to get with the Englishman in the side markets.

In a 20-man field, opportunities were going to be sparse, but Draftkings Sportsbook offer us odds against for Rose to beat Tony Finau in a 72-hole match-bet, and that is worth taking.

Matt points out the tee-to-green game is in great shape, Rose finding around five shots at Sedgefield and Sea Island, figures that sandwich a gain of almost 12 shots at favoured Wentworth.

Top that with a solid enough short game and plus figures for putting in each of his last four starts, and we have a golfer whose total game is in decent nick. Certainly, when adding his impressive course form (three consecutive top-five finishes) and his clear will to do well at his ‘second home’, his chance of contending is clear.

Opponent Finau will have needed to have improved during his two week break given he hasn’t finished higher than 24th in four outings since September, and that was in the 30-man field of the Tour Championship.

A couple of top-50 finishes at the CJ Cup and in Mexico don’t read particularly well and the missed cut in Houston on his last outing came via a combined five-over the two back nines.

Not renown for his putting prowess, the 32-year-old has been leaking shots to the field on the greens, and his game looks in poor shape at present. On a course that rewards a solid all-round game plus the ability to make the most of the birdie opportunities that present themselves on fairly flat greens, the Englishman is much preferred.

As Butch would no doubt say, ‘Attaboy, Rosey’.

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