Belt and Girdle over at GolfDigest.com make a big fuss out of noting that Jim Achenbach's latest Golfweek column on pending groove rule changes (not posted online) is essentially wrong.
Here's what they say.
Girdle Gouge writes:
The story seems to suggest that a final decision on the matter is imminent, alluding to a conversation with USGA President nominee Jim Vernon. The word "soon" was even used. That news struck me as odd as the two of us have regularly checked in with Dick Rugge, USGA Senior Technical Director, and have tried to keep up to date on the USGA's many ongoing research efforts during the grooves rule proposal's "notice and comment" period. As best I can tell, "soon" was not a word in any of our conversations. But I'll check my notes. … Yup, "soon" is still not in there.
Dick Rugge who told us nothing much had changed since our last conversation. That efforts were still ongoing and, in fact, more research was being done. Well my friend, if more research is being done on the topic then "soon" doesn’t really seem possible, now does it? Next call, Jim Vernon, a man whom I looking forward to getting to know better. Vernon told us the following: That the Equipment Standards Committee is getting together at the USGA annual meeting in Houston on Feb. 8. The R&A is having their meeting after that date and that no decision on grooves would be made until after the USGA and R&A met again to discuss to the matter. At the very earliest that is more than a month from now. OK, so maybe a month or so might qualify as "soon." But the column made it a definitive--that the decision had already been made to implement a rule of some sort.
Now, what is lame about the post is not that they are pointing out that Achenbach has it wrong, but instead, in a petty quest to make him look bad, they are completely ignoring the real story they are breaking (but apparently don't know it): that nothing is imminent the groove issue, something widely figured to be in place starting in 2009.
How did it go from being a imminent to this:
Again, when posed to Vernon, he said, "There has been no prognosis made on when a decision will be made and there has been no prognosis on what that decision may or may not be." In plainspeak, not only hasn't a decision on timing been made, but there hasn't been a decision at all. As such, how can a reporter say that not only will your grooves be changing, but a decision will come "soon."
It seems more and more obvious by the day that the R&A has gotten cold feet on this. Isn't that the real story here boys?
And considering that B&G wrote this in February of 2007...
Still, several industry sources contacted by Golf World believe the ruling is coming sooner rather than later.
...it might be wise to lay off Achenbach's use of the word soon.