It came as no surprise when it was announced that PING and the PGA Tour had resolved the issue of the Eye2 irons and wedges that had caused so much commotion this year, including the damnation of Phil Mickelson by his peers even if he was within his rights to use them.
You can check out all the details of the agreement in the News Now section on the GNN home page.
As I stated here last month, Ping chairman and chief executive officer John Solheim is a reasonable man and it was only a matter of time before this issue was resolved. He now walks away from this with that compromising image in most people’s minds.
So while the resolution of the wedge debate has happened, it will be interesting to see what happens when the United States Golf Association holds a fall summit among the game’s stakeholders to discuss the rulemaking process and how it can be improved in the future.
It’s a meeting that both Solheim and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem plan to attend and it may lead to the end of the heavy-handed way in which the USGA handles matters such as equipment rules, which can often lead to lawsuits or force such as actions as legal settlements that can cause confusion.
Wars that cause the alienation of somebody such as Arnold Palmer by the USGA for stating that a hot driver (Callaway’s ERC) should be allowed for recreational players years ago just end up looking bad on the game.
Of course, these equipment rulings are rooted in the fear that modern equipment technology will one day make classic courses obsolete, which is a crock in the case of the great majority of golfers who play the game for fun.
So, while Solheim, Finchem and the rest of the golf industry representatives that attend the USGA meeting chat with the USGA about how these things are handled and how they can be improved, here’s hoping the discussion comes up about how such stringent rules should only apply to very elite golfers, such as tour players.
A recent GNN Poll saw 65 per cent of respondents say that there should be two sets of equipment rules for competitive and recreational players, It’s time that the powers that be realize that use of irons such as the Eye2 by recreational players will hardly send scores plummeting among the masses.
It’s these people who were the focus of people such as Solheim’s dad Karsten, who was renowned for his innovations after starting his company 51 years ago. The idea is to lure people to the game and keep them there by making it fun.
Equipment innovation is supposed to make the game fun, but over-regulation runs the risk of sucking the fun out. Somewhere in the middle is a happy medium.
The door to finding that compromise is open, but are the minds in golf’s governing bodies?