Groove Study Done, Ball Study...

...hopefully forgotten about?

Mike Stachura reports that the USGA has issued a final report similar to their preliminary report from August, but still no mention of the ball study from 2002. Here's what Stachura says:

The final report does not include any proposal for a rule change, but it does seem to indicate a fundamental change from the USGA's position on grooves 20 years ago. At that time (during the so-called "square grooves" debate), Stuart Bloch, then chairman of the USGA's Implements and Ball Committee, actually termed any differences between U-grooves and V-grooves "inconsequential."

This next part comes after Dick Rugge is quoted as saying that the USGA has better testing procedures...

Rugge did not provide any specific timetable for a rule-change proposal or even suggest that there would be a change at all. But he did suggest that a meeting with Arnold Palmer several years ago prompted him and his staff to research the issue further.

"When Arnold Palmer came to our building and shook his finger at me and said, 'Allowing U grooves was the biggest mistake we ever made,' it did make me want to take a look at that issue."

Arnold, could you go back and shake your finger at Dick and tell him your thoughts on the golf ball going too far?

According to a USGA study of amateur players at the Walt Disney World Palm and Eagle Pines golf courses, only 13.1 percent hit the green from shots out of the rough from 100 to 200 yards. The PGA Tour average for similar shots is 49 percent. Also, because the urethane-covered ball used by tour players spins much more out of the rough than the typical ionomer-covered ball (like those with Surlyn covers) preferred by most average golfers (more than two-thirds, based on a study of recent Golf Datatech industry sales figures), average golfers don't often use the equipment that can generate the most spin.
"It's a way of addressing the problem where the problem shows up and not affecting anybody else," says Rugge.

Translation: this way we can keep harvesting rough and offering 22 yard landing areas to discourage distance for tournament play while ignoring the issue we don't really want to deal with because it would require us to admit we botched this one big time!