There are several interesting quotes from manufacturers types in this piece, and it was nice to see Rugge getting to explain and defend some of the recent USGA moves on Moment of Inertia.
Make no mistake, the USGA is intent on curbing the distance the ball travels. In addition to the cap of clubhead size, the USGA also is close to implementing a limit on clubhead moment of inertia (MOI), or the head's resistance to twisting. The less a clubhead twists, the greater the "forgiveness," giving players a greater chance to hit the ball straight.
For example, the USGA tested a wooden driver on its Iron Byron swing machine and deliberately set the machine to produce off-center hits (7/8-inch from the center of gravity). The result: The ball traveled 45 yards less than a ball hit "on the screws."
When the same test was performed with a new titanium driver, the ball traveled only 10 yards less.
"Enough," Rugge said, "is enough."
And again, here's another reason rules bifurcation may ultimately be the easiest solution to all of this madness:
Curiously, such a restriction likely would have a greater effect on amateur and weekend players who have trouble hitting the ball straight and need a high MOI. PGA Tour players don't necessarily need or want such a quality, though the USGA is concerned better players will be able to swing harder without fear of a poor result if the MOI isn't restricted.
According to Rugge, the MOI in a club has nearly tripled in the past 15 years.
"That's always our dilemma with any of our equipment rules," Rugge said. "What's good for me [as a player] isn't necessarily good for what's on tour. We don't want to make it so you can't play anymore, but we have to be careful what's going on on tour. It's always a juggling act."