PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday outlined three options regarding the controversy over usage of pre-1990, square-grooved Ping Eye2 irons that are grandfathered in because of a lawsuit settlement.
1) Status quo. The Tour doesn’t consider this a longterm solution because it raises issues of fairness in competition, Finchem said.
2) Persuade Ping CEO John Solheim to lift the loophole for the good of Tour competition. Finchem talked with Solheim on Tuesday and said Solheim soon will talk with USGA officials. “It would be a terrific gesture on his part,” Finchem said.
3) Ask a special, five-person equipment committee to go through a complicated protocol and consider whether a special rule should be made to close the loophole.
Solheim said last week that he didn’t think the Tour could meet the protocol to have the Eye2s banned under a local rule, but Finchem disagreed Wednesday.
“I politely think he’s mistaken,” Finchem said. “This is something that could end up in the hands of lawyers.”
Finchem said the Eye2 wedges spin 20 percent more than the new 2010 grooves, which have smaller volume and less-sharp edges. Hence he called this a “narrow issue.”
But a frustrating one.
“I told the players that I’ve been extremely frustrated five times, and three of them had to do with grooves,” Finchem said.