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Heads spinning over golf club grooves

By Agencies

Padraig Harrington is prepared to exploit a loophole in new rules governing clubface grooves, but the Irish golfer, like his colleagues, would like to see some clarification of the contentious issue.

Harrington said on Tuesday he has tested a Ping-Eye 2 wedge, a 20-year-old club that does not conform to the new rules for 2010, but which remains approved for play in the United States thanks to the settlement of a lawsuit between Ping and the US Golf Association (USGA) in 1993.

Harrington said the wedge offers a "significant difference" in his ability to control distance out of the rough. "What I'm doing is preparing myself for all eventualities. It would be naive not to," Harrington said.

But players learned at a meeting at Riviera Country Club on Tuesday that a resolution to the problem could take some time.

The new rules adopted by the USGA and the Royal and Ancient this year mandate smaller "V-grooves" rather than square or "U-grooves", which generate more spin.

The issue became a hot topic during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last week, where world number two Phil Mickelson was among a handful of players to use a Ping-Eye 2.

Fellow pro Scott McCarron told the San Francisco Chronicle he thought use of the club was "cheating".

McCarron apologised to Phil Mickelson on Tuesday for using the word "cheating" when he disagreed with Mickelson and others who use the Ping Eye2 wedges that are only allowed because of a legal loophole.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with players on Tuesday in Los Angeles and said the tour was working with Ping to figure out a solution.


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