"We'll continue to make equipment rules based on science and fact"

Stan Awtrey in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution conducts a Q&A with the USGA's Walter Driver.

Q. What's new in terms of restrictions on equipment?

A. We'll continue to spend a lot of time and energy on research on equipment. We spent a lot of time and money last year looking at spin and groove research, and we've given manufacturers a big book of scientific data to look at. We'll continue to make equipment rules based on science and fact, as opposed to the opinion of whatever happens to be the prevailing mood of the day.

Right, like getting all upset that players are hitting drivers no matter how narrow you make them, and using that to blame the grooves since that's much easier politically than rolling back the ball. Yep, it's all about science and fact.

In 1997 the ball manufacturers came to us and said that in five years no one would be playing with a balata ball. Every ball made would be solid and with a Suryln cover, or some variation. We thought that sounded highly unlikely; it took three years.

It's easier to buy a new club or a new ball than it is to work on a new swing, and that continues to drive changes in the equipment.

I think that last line is pretty interesting, though it's hard to evaluate since it's likely out of context.

Q. What's planned for the next year?

A. I'm serious about finding ways to use the Internet to communicate with USGA members and golfers in general.

Ah, spoken like a lame duck USGA president!