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« 2013 Farmers Insurance Open Final Round Comment Thread | Main | “The operative word is fun" »
Monday
Jan282013

USGA: "Unfortunate Mr. King has that point of view."

Annoucing the 2020 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Golf Channel's Jimmy Roberts posed this of USGA Championship Committee chair Tom O'Toole regarding comments made last week by Taylor Made CEO Mark King.:

JIMMY ROBERTS:  Of course the United States Golf Association not only involved in conducting great championships but also making the Rules of Golf along with The R&A, and this week some news, TaylorMade CEO Mark King had some rather harsh comments about the United States Golf Association in regard to the anchoring ban.  Let's take a look at his quote:

He said, "Here's the prediction.  The USGA within 10 years will be a non‑entity, they will be a non‑factor within golf because they are choosing to be on the outside, and no one is signing up for what they represent."  He goes on to say, "Industry is going to move away from them and pass them.  They're obsolete.  I hate to say that, but that's their behavior."

Some rather strident talk from him.  Your thoughts on that, Tom?

TOM O'TOOLE JR.:  Well, unfortunate Mr. King has that point of view.  I'm sorry to have read those remarks.  As you know when we suggested the proposed ban on anchoring, we said that we would have a comment period until the end of February, and the USGA has maintained that we would not speak during that comment but listen, and we've done that, not just Mr. King's remarks but from a variety of mediums, and we'll hold pat until the end of February and then we'll along with our partners at The R&A have some response.  But that's our position at this juncture.

JIMMY ROBERTS:  I think a bigger question, though, is there any concern about bifurcation, two sets of rules?

TOM O'TOOLE JR.:  Well, that bifurcation has been a discussion around the golf game for a long time.  I think you know and many know that it's a difficult thing to govern the game, and it's not popular, and our position has been that the game would not be benefitted by bifurcation, and that's still our position.

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Reader Comments (29)

Mike Davis and crew are probably too smart to ever respond to the treasonous King but one can hope and pray...
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Question here: How many people play by the USGA or R&A rules? I know I do when playing tournaments, but otherwise we just tee it up and play by our own rules which include the following:

1. No club limit. Probably a mistake...we should limit to 6-7 clubs we can actually hit well, rather than 14 we are mediocre at!

2. No stroke and distance for OB/lost ball...dumbest rule in golf, IMHO!

3. If someones talking during swing, and player hits a poor shot, player can redo.

4. Sometimes winter rules throughout course.

I'm sure there are others, but the point I'm making is that I don't know anyone who plays by these rules. Hell, even during tournaments we have the occasional bizarre situation where no one (including experienced caddies or club pros) know the rules.

Play in the spirit of the game...which is to have fun and give no particular player an unfair advantage.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterManku
We already have bifurcation around the grooves.

All problems get solved by rolling the ball back and have the extra benefit of spurring a completely new set of product lines and equipment. And if you need bifurcation to get there, then bifurcation would be great for the game.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn
Manku...

2. No stroke and distance for OB/lost ball...dumbest rule in golf, IMHO!


What would you propose for a ball that isn't found? Would you allow a player to "guess" were his ball was and drop/place it there? I'm guessing that would cause a lot of arguments on the course. Probably 90% of the time, when a ball is temporarily lost...it is found well behind where the player thought it would be and was looking...are you willing to give them the extra yards based on their assumption?

Out of bounds means not on the course...if I hit a shot right down the middle (on the course), but trickle into a hazard, are you saying that someone who can't even keep the ball on the course could potentially get an advantage on me by dropping a ball where it went OB (maybe farther up the hole)?
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Mark King is an idiot. Always has been.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSun Mountain Man
Mr King is welcome to start his own sport, complete with rules and governing body. He can then have his own tour and invite people to play on it.

I wish him well with that endeavor.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommentermP
Ditto re: Mark King is an idiot. Anyone else seeing Ping 1990 here?

Manku--I always play by the rules. You're entitled to play whatever game you like--it's not golf, but hey, you can call it that if you want to and as long as you're keeping up with the guys ahead of you, it doesn't matter to me. Unless we're betting.

One of the reasons I play by the rules is that I know the scores on my card are legitimate. A 77 based on gimme putts isn't a real 77.

Those who say the rules are bifurcated are right in regards to players like manku. And that's fine. But don't change the rules because some guys don't play by them.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterranchobob
When Mark King talks about the "industry" leading, he's simply saying that he wants club and ballmakers free rein regarding their ability to innovate, promote (read: hype) sell and make a profit. It certainly DOES NOT matter to him that classic courses used by the PGA Tour have either been rendered obsolete or must be stretched to ridiculous lengths in order to keep up with "progress," increased maintenance and land costs be damned.

As for the USGA, the blue blazers are content to quietly ignore the simple fact that, aside from strict "rules only" tournament play, virtually ALL amateurs have already chosen bifurcation. As Manku pointed out, it's simply easier and more fun to play by a "relaxed" set of rules and you certainly can recognize this in your everyday play.

However, rather than point to the USGA as the main culprit by allowing technology to speed the march toward continued golf course obsolescence, why don't we look at Finchie's PGA TOUR? By simply issuing it's own edict regarding the ball and driver C.O.R., the Tour could curtain continued distance gains, would again make driver accuracy an asset rather than a non-factor and "narrow the gap" (only slightly) between the professional and the amateur. Would seeing Dustin Johnson/Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes blast a tee ball only 310 instead of 330 put a dent in attendance or TV ratings? Hardly. But then again, Finchem isn't about growing the game, making it affordable or faster so why would he bother?
01.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbenseattle
I predicted that King would regret his choice of words. Time will tell, but he looks like an ass to me.
@Steve - your example is silly extreme. The more reasonable example is: Wood to the right, in play, but the houses on the left have white stakes and are OB. So a slice you get the distance and a drop, a hook you re-tee.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
This coming from a guy who's company has made billions off us consumers...
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterViz
I'm quite shocked by the assertion that "virtually all amateurs" cheat. Does Ben Seattle include himself in this claim I wonder!?

Whether it's a bounce game or a competition, I play by the rules set by the governing bodies. I also can't think of a more practical way to teach children life values such as integrity, self-discipline and good manners. It would be a great shame if the core values of this great game were eroded to the extent of them being lost altogether.

"relaxed" ... be damned. It's cheating: nothing less.
Did O'Toole really say unfortunate Mr. king rather than "unfortunately''?? Be nice if a USGA president (to be) spoke proper English....Jeez, not too much to ask!!

Jimmy R coulda followed by pointing out the quote was about USGA rulesmaking authority in general, did not specifically reference the anchoring ban.

Still not clear how or why Winged Foot lost its East Course for such a long stretch due to Open on the West. Poor planning/execution on someone's part.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
Maybe Mr. King is right, I mean the tours don't have to follow the USGA's rules, right?
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeagle
Brian S.- you forget that unplayable operates under stroke and distance.

Ok, Wood right, houses left. Deeeeep Bunker in front of green.

guy hits 7 iron into bunker. Whats to stop him from re-teeing, hitting 6 iron, and putting for par.

and you cant say "he has to find his ball or it costs him a stroke--because that will have the guy who hits it left looking through somebody's garden for his ball.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd
Ed,
The player alone is who decides if the ball is unplayable.

I putted off the front of the green with a ridiculous pin placement. Declared my ball unplayable. Place it back in the same spot (took the 1 stroke penalty) and then made the next putt. Way fewer strokes than if I had tried to chip and putt again.

Someone let me know if I'm wrong about this rule.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
"Brian S.- you forget that unplayable operates under stroke and distance.

Ok, Wood right, houses left. Deeeeep Bunker in front of green.

guy hits 7 iron into bunker. Whats to stop him from re-teeing, hitting 6 iron, and putting for par."

He would not be putting for par. Under the traditional rule, his original ball is still in play in the bunker. If he declares his first ball unplayable and chooses Rule 28(a), he is hitting three from the tee.

Under the modified rule proposed by Steve and Manku, the player drops the ball farther up but he is still hitting three. At most, he saves bogey. More likely he misses the putt, takes double. Even less likely is he holes it. Either way, the bad shot costs the player the par but the foursome saves 3-5 minutes by avoiding the return to tee to hit again situation.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOC
so let me get this straight- guy who plugs in a bunker in front of a green has to drop in the bunker with a one stroke penalty, or drop back behind the bunker again with a one stroke penalty, but the guy who hits it OB left has 80 yards and is hitting his second from near the boundary stake.

Better yet, the guy hits it OB left next to the green and is chipping for birdie?

missing that one.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd
All roads lead to Mfgs vs USGA in the legal arena, no question about it.
USGA and R&A please make the following changes to the rules:

Effective 1st January 2014

The maximum COR permissible for any golf club is five per cent - 0.950
The weight of the golf ball is increased by ten per cent with no more than 250 dimples across the surface of the ball

Note to Manufacturers:

Nobody asked you to become suppliers to our sport - if you don't like our rules - go away - leave room for those who do - and there will be plenty who will step in - there are clearly fat profits to be made,
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMRinScotland
@Ed - stroke and distance is only one of the scenarios for an unplayable lie:

If the player deems his ball to be unplayable, he must, under penalty of one stroke:

a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or

b. Drop a ball behind the point where the ball lay, keeping that point directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind that point the ball may be dropped; or

c. Drop a ball within two club-lengths of the spot where the ball lay, but not nearer the hole.

If the unplayable ball is in a bunker, the player may proceed under Clause a, b or c. If he elects to proceed under Clause b or c, a ball must be dropped in the bunker.

When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.

The point is, he is potentially hitting 3 from somewhere other than back to the tee box. In addition, there is the chance that you can chip out of the woods, either forward or backwards, but with the white stakes, it is back to the tee box.

And there are no scenarios where you would be hitting again without penalty "chipping for birdie", unless you pounded it near the green on a par 4. And "chipping for birdie" usually means at best par, and good chance for a bogie.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Some of the previous posts about "alternate rules of golf" bring a question to mind...why bother to tee off at all? Seriously, maybe you could just fill out your scorecard in the parking lot and turn it in for your handicap. The vast majority of us have a regulation USGA handicap based on actual scores.
Just a thought....
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Great Hagoo
"Some of the previous posts about "alternate rules of golf" bring a question to mind...why bother to tee off at all? Seriously, maybe you could just fill out your scorecard in the parking lot and turn it in for your handicap. The vast majority of us have a regulation USGA handicap based on actual scores.
Just a thought.... "

Last time I checked, having a regulation USGA handicap is not required to play golf. So your comment adds nothing to the discussion.

Also, do you know stroke and distance is not a traditional golf rule? US Opens from the early 1900's to Arnold Palmer's win in 1960 at Cherry Hills was governed by distance only? Who's bright idea was it to change the rule?
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDC
In the club I belong to, those players who keep a registered handicap play by the Rules of Golf. If you don't keep a handicap, play however you want and no one cares. If players keep a handicap and don't play by the rules, it isn't a valid handicap. Please don't compare handicap factors with anyone if you don't play by the rules.

I know that my handicap factor is legitimate, I play as closely by the rules as I can, every time I play.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered Commentergolfgal
DC - stroke & distance has been the penalty[*] since 1920 for balls out of bounds and lost outside of a water hazard. Distance-only was used for balls out of bounds prior to 1920 (but stroke & distance applied for lost balls).

[*] The Local Rule for distance only which was permitted experimentally in 1960 also (but not used in the U.S. Open).
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterArthur Nelson
Bifurcation: but they DO bifurcate already! Pros are allowed to wear METAL SPIKES on Tour yet everybody else are not. So ridiculous that they should even be crying about any kind of bifurcation ruling, when they already do it with a piece of equipment. And yes, shoes and spikes are pieces of equipment.
01.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
"[*] The Local Rule for distance only which was permitted experimentally in 1960 also (but not used in the U.S. Open)."

It was used in the 1960 US Open. It's mentioned in the book Golf's Greatest Championship: The 1960 US Open.

"In the club I belong to, those players who keep a registered handicap play by the Rules of Golf. If you don't keep a handicap, play however you want and no one cares. If players keep a handicap and don't play by the rules, it isn't a valid handicap. Please don't compare handicap factors with anyone if you don't play by the rules.

I know that my handicap factor is legitimate, I play as closely by the rules as I can, every time I play. "

Growing the game is not bringing more people in like you that are likely to get handicaps and compete in the club championships. It's about bringing people that you allegedly don't care about. The ones who don[t care about the score but enjoy being outside with their friends and having fun. Mark King, the manufacturers, the PGA of America, etc. care about these people more. These are the ones that are really hurt by the cost and time, and to an extent, the difficulty of the game.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDC
I think AG may have it but for the wrong reason. I don't think the USGA has banned metal spikes, I think it is a club thing however this may show that the industry is leading the change and not the USGA. I like the new comfy spikeless and they are OK for me. As well the Pros play 8000 yard courses and we don’t – Is this bifurcation? Some players perhaps with artificial limbs or missing limbs who want to play may need to anchor. The foursome who tees it up at 06:00 to finish in two hours often has its own set of rules – like tree root rules when they play together. Handicaps are not important if you don’t play in tournaments so handicap committees should back off. I guess it is nice we all got to learn a new word - bifurcate Keep the fun in golf! The industry may or may not be leading the change but organizations like the USGA and R&A are really working hard to speed up the demise of the game.
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBFY
So why doesn't the NHL bifurcate the rules too?
Everyone but the pros get double runners up through college.
That will grow the game too?
Jeez guys the rules are the rules. Taking the hockey analogy
( compared to putting) if I wear double runners will I be a good skater when I go to a single blade??
Same thing with putting, guys with the yips find anchoring helps, doesn't the argument stop there? Anchoring assists.... End of story.
I play with guys that anchor, and they all had the yips.
But at the end of the day anchoring assists bad putters to be better.
If that's the case I want my sky caddie in U.S amateur events . How can that help me?!!!!
01.29.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNator

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