Monday, March 08, 2010

Ping, PGA Tour and USGA Reach Agreement

If you haven't sold your pre-1990 Ping Eye2 wedge yet, the market just crashed on you.

The wedges won't be allowed for use on the PGA Tour or any other professional tour after March 29 following an agreement by Ping to drop its right to exempt those clubs from the new rules related to grooves that went into effect this year.

The agreement closes a loophole in the new rules that all sides were aware existed before several tour players decided to put the old clubs into their bags this year.

“We’re thankful for Commissioner Finchem’s understanding of our position and his role in helping bring about this resolution. We all believe it is in the best interests of golf,” said Ping president John Solheim said in a statement.

“It levels the playing field on the PGA TOUR and resolves a very unfortunate situation that we predicted would happen when the USGA first proposed the new groove rule more than two years ago. It keeps in place all of our other rights established in the 1993 PGA TOUR settlement and the 1990 USGA settlement, including ensuring amateurs will continue to be able to play their pre-April 1990 EYE2s at all amateur events played under the USGA Rules of Golf.”

The agreement has one caveat: Several tour players had Ping Eye2 wedges made recently that meet the grooves regulations that went into effect in 2010. Those clubs are still legal.

As part of the resolution, the USGA announced it will hold an equipment forum later this year in hopes of finding better ways to resolve equipment issues between manufacturers and governing bodies.