From the Morning Read Inbox readers respond to recent articles surrounding conforming and non-conforming golf equipment
‘Normal use’ shouldn’t render club to be illegal
There is an equipment provision in the Rules of Golf that states, "A club used to make a stroke must conform not only when the club is new, but also when it has been deliberately or accidentally changed in any way. But if the performance characteristics of a conforming club change because of wear through normal use, it is still a conforming club."
I have heard from several sources that a driver's face can become non-conforming simply through repeated (normal) use. If this is true in the case of Xander Schauffele, and he has some sort of proof that his driver was conforming when new, then according to the rules, his driver should have been allowed to be put into play at the British Open (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 22, July 23, July 24, July 25, July 26).
If the model itself is deemed conforming by the R&A and USGA, then by inference Schauffele's driver had to have been conforming when it was new. Otherwise, what's the point of having a conforming-driver list put out by the R&A and USGA?
(Harman is the national course director for the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation.)
R&A should have fessed up sooner
I was pretty sure that others would pick up on the revelation that before the opening round of the British Open, four drivers were discovered to be non-conforming and were removed from competition, but then this news was quickly swept under the rug (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 22, July 23, July 24, July 25, July 26).
It is obvious that the R&A does not want people to talk about it. I would remind sports fans on this side of the Atlantic to recall what happened with the George Brett pine-tar controversy in 1983 and the Tom Brady “Deflategate” incident of underinflated footballs during the 2015 AFC Championship Game, plus the many NASCAR violations that have been uncovered by rules officials before and after races.
The worst thing that can happen to a professional athlete is to be accused of cheating, which would ruin the athlete’s legacy. Losing a tournament or losing money pales in comparison to losing one’s reputation.
The manner in which this non-conforming announcement was made during the British Open was inappropriate and should have been explained and clarified by the R&A.
Schauffele loses with his whining
The biggest problem with the driver testing by the R&A at the British Open was Xander Schauffele’s mouth (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 22, July 23, July 24, July 25, July 26).
The three others who were tested and didn't pass simply got another driver and went on. The problem should have been taken up by Schauffele with Callaway, his equipment provider, not through the media.
The bad press and comments are all on him because of his whining.
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