Sunday, January 17, 2010

HONOLULU -- Most tour pros at this week's Sony Open at Waialae Country Club are complying with the USGA's new rule prohibiting square or U grooves.

A few are mostly complying.
Because the USGA is still bound by its 1990 settlement with Karsten Manufacturing, John Daly and Dean Wilson are taking advantage of a legal loophole that allows pros to use square grooves if the clubs in question are Ping Eye 2 wedges made before April 1990. And not everybody is happy about it.Bob Estes called the move, "maybe a little bit against the spirit of the game since they passed that rule." Asked to respond, Wilson told the Honolulu Advertiser, "Bob has not come up to me and said anything about it. But if he came and asked me, I'd tell him what I told you. It's not a groove issue for me. It's a comfort issue. I'm not trying to gain advantage with the grooves. I think Bob is completely wrong. Maybe he should think about what he says."The two were paired together for the fourth round at 10:28 a.m. Sunday.The Estes-Wilson disagreement is the second grooves dust-up of the week. The first came when veteran pro R.W. Eaks demanded a Tour official check the grooves of Monday-qualifying winner Aaron Goldberg after Goldberg shot a 63. The V grooves in his wedges were in compliance.Estes and Wilson did not discuss the matter during their round, and shook hands after putting out on the 18th green. Both seemed taken aback that the matter had become an issue. Estes, who played the first two rounds here with Daly, was surprised to read Wilson's quotes in the newspaper Sunday morning and said he was not attacking Wilson personally. Still, Estes did not back down."I just said I wasn't going to play [the old Ping wedges] because it's not in the spirit of the game," Estes said after making three double-bogeys on the way to a final-round 78. "They can play 'em, but I don't think they should hide behind an old rule. They should play by the same rules the other 99% of us are."Reminded that many golf rules don't make sense, Estes countered, "This one does. We've seen too much [in unchecked technological advances] for far too long out here, like guys backing it up out of four-inch Bermuda rough."  Wilson shot a final-round 70 and paused in the middle of signing autographs to defend himself."That's his opinion," Wilson said of Estes. "Ping did not make a club that conformed that I felt comfortable with, and I wanted to practice and play with a club that I knew I was going to be able to use. The sole of the club is what I like; it's not about the grooves. I'm shocked that it was such a big thing. Hopefully I'll have Ping make me an L-wedge with grooves that conform, and that'll be the end of it."

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