Mickelson a 'cheater'

2010-01-30 07:23

California - The US PGA Tour was embroiled in controversy on Friday as Scott McCarron accused world number two Phil Mickelson of "cheating" for making use of a loophole in new rules governing grooves in clubs.

Mickelson is one of several players at this week's tournament at Torrey Pines using a Ping-Eye 2 wedge, manufactured two decades ago with square grooves.

The square grooves are now banned on the PGA Tour because of a new US Golf Association regulation that club faces have V-shaped grooves.

However, the square-groove Ping wedges remain legal because of a lawsuit that Ping filed against the USGA that was settled in 1990. The outcome of that action was that any Ping-Eye 2 manufactured before April 1, 1990, is approved for play.

"It's cheating, and I'm appalled Phil has put it in play," McCarron told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story published on Friday. McCarron said Mickelson's use of the wedges was against the spirit of the new rules.

While a "cheat" label is abhorrent in golf, a game that prides itself on honesty and self-policing, Mickelson refused enter a debate with McCarron.

Instead Mickelson criticized the rule itself.

"It's a terrible rule. To change something that has this kind of loophole is nuts," Mickelson said. "But it's not up to me or any other player to interpret what the rule is or the spirit of the rule. I understand black and white. And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play those clubs because they're approved - end of story."

Square grooves can provide more spin to the ball than V-shaped grooves. The ban is meant to put a greater premium on accuracy off the tee.

Although it isn't clear whether clubs manufactured 20 years ago even produce the same spin as current clubs with V-grooves, Australian Robert Allenby said using old clubs was unfair if only because not all players have access to them.

"I think 'cheating' is not the right word," Allenby said. "But it's definitely an advantage. There's only a certain amount of people that can find them, and I just think it's not right if you're using them."

Japan's Ryuji Imada, who shared the second-round lead at the Farmers Insurance Open on Friday night, said using the Ping wedge couldn't be called cheating, but he thought the loophole in the rule was unfair.

"The rules are the rules, and if it's allowed by the rules of golf, sure, you can use it," Imada said. "But I don't agree with it. If everybody else is having to play the V-grooves, I think everyone should have to play the conforming grooves."


  • Burtfred - 2010-01-30 07:42

    Square grooves, round grooves, V grooves - whatever. Who actually gives a s**t, Golf is sooooo boring. Ask Tiger about grooves - he knows lots about them.(much more exciting ones)

  • Michael Colin - 2010-01-30 08:20

    Mickelson in the same category as Tiger Woods? I don't think so. Mickelson is the perfect gentleman. Tiger's the cheater!

  • Simon - 2010-01-30 08:40

    Oh, Butfred, you are such a funny guy.

  • John - 2010-01-30 08:53

    This is not the first time that this 'cheating' label has been slaped on Mickelson.

  • Simon - 2010-01-30 08:53

    OMG golfers are so anal and uptight its a wonder they arent permanently constipated.

  • Longshanks - 2010-01-30 08:55

    If Phil hit someone on the head with his putter I'd say thats against the spirit of the game. As for this rubbish sounds like gripes from golfers that need to win more titles. Shame on you!

  • George - 2010-01-30 08:58

    Golf is a very phsycological game. The new V shaped grooves on newer clubs cannot give that much different performace than the older clubs. Your openents thinking you have an edge. That is the real edge and that is the real advantage. Throw them into a mental spin and you focus on your shots. I love it. Different with Rugby. Stormers think Habana gives them the edge, while Bulls know the ref gives them the edge.

  • shame - 2010-01-30 09:03

    If not against the rules and it is better why dont Scott use it too?

  • Dawie - 2010-01-30 09:07

    Michael Colin, I don't see Tiger's name mentioned in the article. Comment on the facts at hand. People will so many times carry on and on about the same issue because their own past haunts them. You are narrow minded!

  • Farouk - 2010-01-30 09:07

    It has finally caught with them, before we used to play Golf as should be played,and then technology creaped in and introduced what i call Golf made easy, let them deal with it and stop calling eachother cheats.

  • @Dawie - 2010-01-30 10:37

    you must be an @n@l golfer?

  • Greg - 2010-01-30 11:02

    Tiger is just playing the game as Nike has stated, not cheating just playing. It's all part of the game is what they said.

  • coach - 2010-01-30 14:33

    Scott, If this specific club makes such a huge impact, Why not go out and find one that is legal and use the bloody thing! Stop moaning and use the situation as best you can!

  • PETE - 2010-01-30 15:40

    You are only a cheat if you have 14 grooves and caught out.

  • larry - 2010-01-30 16:12

    i'm thinking that life is more important. saints for the superbowl :)

  • JAMES - 2010-01-30 16:23

    @Dawie - go play with your (golf) balls!!

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