Rugge: Ball Study Done, Results Await Rule Change Call

Saturday will mark the final USGA Annual Meeting for retiring technical director Dick Rugge, which means he'll only have to hear me ask one more time what the status is of the USGA's nearly 10-year ball study.

Turns out, Adam Schupak asked the question in a better way because Rugge says it's done, stored in a crate stacked upon eight other crates somewhere near the lost ark.

Schupak: Where do we stand on the USGA's study of the golf ball? Is that something you feel you're leaving left undone?

Rugge: The goal of the ball study was to become better prepared to make a rule change based on knowledge, in case that was ever needed. The USGA is much better prepared, with much more knowledge of golf balls in many ways today than when it started out. In that sense, that mission has been accomplished.

It never was about should we change the rules about golf balls.

Well, we did ask for reduced distance balls...

Schupak: Why has nothing from the ball study ever been made public?

Rugge: First of all, why should we? That's not meant to be a sarcastic comment. That's a real question. We always ask ourselves why do we want to publish whatever it is we do. What's the purpose of doing that? We look at publishing information we've learned as preparation for making a rule change. If we think there is a reasonable chance of making a rules change, we start publishing information to get people understanding the knowledge we've gained and perhaps how we may go forward.

So when they start publishing papers, then we'll know it's coming!