Mickelson defends 20-year-old wedge
Phil Mickelson has defended his use of a 20-year-old wedge after accusations by Scott McCarron he is cheating by using it.
Phil Mickelson has defended his use of a 20-year-old wedge in the wake of accusations by fellow professional Scott McCarron he is cheating by using it.
World number two Mickelson has opened his PGA Tour campaign for 2010 with a Ping i2 wedge in his bag at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, exploiting a loophole in equipment regulations introduced on January 1 by golf’s rulemakers, the United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient.Golf Club.
While the club features the grooves banned by the US, a lawsuit in the early 1990s led to Ping wedges manufactured before 1990 being allowed to be put in play and several tour players have opted to use them, Mickelson the most high-profile.
“It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it in play,” McCarron was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Chronicle.
McCarron is a member of the PGA Tour Players’ Committee and Mickelson tonight agreed in principle that he was exploiting a loophole.
“I agree that it’s a terrible rule,” Mickelson said following his second round at Torrey Pines.
“To change something that has this kind of loophole is nuts. But it’s not up to me or any other player to interpret what the rule is or the spirit of the rule.
“I understand black and white. And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play with those clubs because they’re approved. End of story.”
Asked to respond directly to McCarron’s accusations of cheating, Mickelson replied: “I think rather than answer that directly, I think what he’s saying is the rule is a terrible rule, and I agree.
“I’m just as upset. The difference is I’ve been talking with Dick Rugge of the USGA and talking to commissioner (Tim Finchem) and explaining this behind closed doors, how ridiculous all this is.
“I don’t agree with the way he (McCarron) carried on about it, but that’s his choice.
“All my clubs are approved for play, and I take that very seriously not to violate any rule. It’s not my job or the job of any of the players to try to interpret the spirit of the rule or the intent. I understand approved or not approved. I didn’t make this rule. I don’t agree with the rule, but I’m abiding by it.”
Mickelson would appear to have the PGA Tour commissioner on his side.
“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,” Finchem told journalists on January 19 when asked about the Ping i2.
“So rather than part ways with the USGA in terms of what they would have to do at the US 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 we don’t see any erosion of competitive balance because of that particular situation.”
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