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Ban the Belly: Reactionary Forces at Work at the USGA

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared in July. McDuff will re-visit this issue next week in light of the decision by the USGA and R&A to ban “anchoring.”   Following Ernie Els’ victory a couple weeks ago at the Open Championship, the R&A fanned the flames of the “debate” over whether to ban the long putter by announcing they will take up the issue this fall, rather than sometime in the distant future as had been previously indicated. You’ll note I put the word debate in quotes. I did so because, while the topic has been making the rounds ever since Keegan Bradley won the PGA with a belly putter last year, it is not really a debate in the sense that such a term implies reasoned argument on both sides of the issue. Read the rest of this entry »

Longer Off the Deck With New Fairway Tech

You may recall that a few weeks ago I promised (or threatened, depending on your perspective) to discuss the remarkable advancements in fairway woods available this year. The new fairway woods (call them fairway metals if you wish—I won’t) are so truly “new” both in design and distance claims, I thought this would be easy to write, until I began wondering why fairway woods were suddenly stealing some of the driver distance marketing thunder. What’s so new in 2012? Well, I’d heard various theories as to why fairway woods got hot, but most of these theories were idiotic   So, I went to work researching the one rumor that had been given me by a reliable source as the reason fairway woods have taken such a big jump in distance this year: that the USGA restrictions on the permissible spring-like effect of a club face, or the Coefficient of Restitution (COR), do not apply to club heads under 410cc. Read the rest of this entry »

Pick Up the Pace

    Slow play is in the golfing news this week, thanks to a ruling on the LPGA Tour over the weekend that, arguably, cost Morgan Pressel a semi-final match and a chance to win the Sybase Match Play Championship. The slow play penalty (loss of hole in match play) came on the 12th hole, which Pressel won to go 3 up in the match. She was then informed that, having been put on the clock previously, and having then taken too much time to play the 12th hole, she was being assessed the penalty. So, instead of being 3 up, she was one up in what was effectively a 2 hole penalty.   How would you react to that? Probably the same way Pressel did, which was to go on to lose the match 2 and 1. I like Morgan Pressel. She yells at her ball. She yells at herself. She seems feisty and emotional, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that the ruling cost her the match. She had to be steaming. That was a tough way to lose, and of course we’ll never know if the outcome was truly affected, but there’s a huge difference between being 3 up with 6 holes to go and being only 1 up. Azahara Munoz, the other player in the controversy admitted that she had been just as guilty of slow play earlier in the match, and indeed, the earlier warning was for both and not just Pressel. Munoz also acknowledged that the penalty wasn’t fair and she wouldn’t have assessed it were it her choice. She said this right after she grabbed the $375,000.00 winner’s check, making it a little easier, I suppose, to be magnanimous. Read the rest of this entry »
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