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PHOENIX, Arizona - The 20-year-old square-groove clubs that sparked a furore on the US PGA Tour this season will be prohibited on the tour from March 29 thanks to an agreement reached with club manufacturer Ping.
Ping chairperson and chief executive John Solheim said the firm will waive its rights under a 1993 lawsuit that legitimised the clubs made before April 1990, even though they do not conform to new rules adopted by the US Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient (golf's rule makers) mandating shallower V-grooves.
The lawsuit meant that the old Ping Eye 2 irons and wedges remained legal on the US PGA Tour, and the decision of some players, including Phil Mickelson, to put them in their bags whipped up a controversy over whether they violated the spirit of the current regulations.
Solheim said the waiver agreed to by the firm will apply to the US PGA Tour, the Champions Tour and the Nationwide developmental tour. "As a result of a request from the USGA, Ping will also apply the waiver to the US Open (a US and European Tour event)," Solheim said.
He believes the waiver "levels the playing field on the PGA Tour", but noted it "keeps in place all our other rights established in the 1993 PGA Tour settlement", including for amateurs to use their pre-April 1990 Eye 2s at all amateur USGA events. - Sapa-AFP