If Indy can test all cars, why can’t golf test all clubs?
Xander Schauffele was 100 percent correct when he challenged the R&A to test all drivers, not just a random selection of 30 (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 22).
The Rules of Golf state that a player must use conforming clubs and balls. But how do players know whether their equipment is conforming? They have no way of testing. They actually depend on the equipment manufacturers to provide them with conforming equipment.
All manufacturers submit clubs to the USGA and R&A for approval when they introduce new models. After approval, clubs are mass produced. Can a single club be non-conforming and no one knows it? Sure. Tolerances dictate that possibility when you are trying to marginalize the limits of conformity.
Every race car entered in the Indianapolis 500 must meet conforming specifications to qualify and then cannot be changed before the race. So why shouldn’t every golf club and ball be tested before each event to ensure that they conform to the rules?
I know it would be a monumental task, but to protect the field, why not test everyone’s equipment? Should the manufacturers provide certified test results on all of their clubs and balls that are manufactured?
But on the other hand, just how much advantage would a player have if his driver were non-conforming? How much out of spec was Schauffele’s driver, and to what degree of advantage would he have had? Probably not much. The player still must execute the shot. And it's fair to say that a non-conforming club actually might hurt the player.
This is another one of the ambiguous Rules of Golf that puts the onus on the player when it is out of his/her control.
(Mitchell, a PGA of America member, runs Ed Mitchell Technologies in Jackson.)
Enforce equipment testing uniformly
Bravo to reader Mike Kukelko for bringing up the subject of random testing of clubs to see whether they conform to R&A and USGA rules (“From the Morning Read inbox,” July 22).
I agree that testing should be over the entire field. Otherwise, the rules are not being applied equally and fairly. By testing only a random sample, some players could have an unfair advantage.
Club manufacturers have been pushing the envelope for some time, much to the delight of the golfing public and tour professionals. The margin between conforming and non-conforming is now so slim that it is inevitable that some clubs will cross the line by a small fraction. Players are supposed to be responsible for their clubs, but they are not engineers. I agree with Xander Schauffele on this one: testing should be done but done equitably.
Whether or not non-conforming clubs make a positive difference to a player's performance is irrelevant. Rules are there for the benefit of all players who compete in this unique game, so either enforce them or change them. Anything else makes a mockery of having any rules at all.
End secrecy of equipment testing
The biggest surprise for me while watching the British Open this year was the revelation that 30 drivers were tested for compliance and that four were found to be noncompliant.
Why all the secrecy?
Equipment testing in professional sports in the U.S. certainly takes place, and some infractions in baseball and football have caused serious uproars after being reported by the media. Professional leagues in baseball, basketball, football and hockey would come under heavy fire if equipment non-compliance had been discovered and a penalty assessed but not made public.
This is a serious infraction, considering the amount of money for which professional golfers compete, plus the other rewards for winning a major championship. Certainly, the debate would come as to who is responsible for the non-compliant club being brought into play: the manufacturer, the player or the tournament officials. One can only guess what would occur once the culprit would be revealed.
Lowry’s victory shows power of sports to heal
Thank you for the great coverage of the British Open, and especially for noting how Shane Lowry’s victory contributes to a united and peaceful Ireland (“Lowry unites Irish isle with Claret Jug,” July 22).
Before the Open, some observers were saying that a win by local favorite Rory McIlroy would be a “storybook ending,” but it’s Lowry’s triumph that is truly inspirational. To have a son of the Republic of Ireland prevail at Royal Portrush, and then be embraced by Graeme McDowell and other sons of Northern Ireland, shows how golf, and all sports, can help cure deep divisions and bring healing to troubled lands.
With the division we now have in the United States, we could use some of that same spirit here.
Koepka racks up quite a major season: 2-1-2-4
Although Shane Lowry was fantastic and is indeed the “champion golfer of the year,” Brooks Koepka, with his 2-1-2-4 finishes in the major championships, is indeed the “player of the year.”
Boca Raton, Fla.
Morning Read invites reader comment. Write to editor Steve Harmon at email@example.com. Please provide your name and city of residence. If your comment is selected for publication, Morning Read will contact you to verify the authenticity of the email and confirm your identity. We will not publish your email address. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and brevity.