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WHOA, BERTHA: USGA WILL WALK SOFTLY ON THE BIG STICKS
Published June 18, 1998
The USGA "eased fears" yesterday by announcing that "virtually all" clubs now in use or on the market should conform to a proposed new testing procedure that will measure the "spring-like" effect in club heads, according to Leonard Shapiro of the WASHINGTON POST. At a press conference at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, the USGA said that it will release to manufacturers over the next two weeks the specifics of its new procedures, based on the "rebound velocity" of a golf ball off a club face. It will convene a meeting this fall to get further input from the industry on testing protocol, "then hold a final meeting of its Exec Committee to approve a specific set of standards." USGA Exec Dir David Fay said that the organization "was not influenced by the possibility of litigation from [golf] manufacturers," but Shapiro adds that public opinion, "may have played a role" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18). In Dallas, Brad Townsend reports that instead of "attempting to scale back technology, the USGA in effect wants to cap it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/18). In Chicago, Len Ziehm reports that the USGA considered more radical legislation, including limiting golf ball technology, reducing the number of clubs allowed in a player's bag and limiting the length of the club shafts and size of clubheads, "but instead attacked a poorly worded line in the Rules of Golf. The rule states that 'the material and construction of the club shall not have the effect at impact of a spring'" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/18). E-LYING LOW: Callaway Golf Chair Ely Callaway, a critic of any potential USGA ban, said yesterday's decision was "a welcome change in attitude from what we understood it to be in the middle of May. They felt they had a charter to roll the game back equipment-wise and ban certain clubs. That was not the impression we got today" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/18). Callaway stock climbed $1.25, or 6.7%, to close at $19.81 yesterday on the NYSE (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/18). BABY STEPS: In Atlanta, Glenn Sheeley said the USGA announced "a relatively conservative plan," although future standards "are expected to be tougher" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 6/18). In Akron, Micheal Weinreb calls the plan a "modest proposal. ... The question, however, is whether it will restrict future technology" (BEACON JOURNAL, 6/18). In N.Y., Luke Cyphers wrote that "doomsday seems to have been averted" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/18). Also in N.Y., Dave Anderson writes that "sanity, if not sympathy, has prevailed" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/18). CNN's Jim Huber called the move "much ado about very little" ("Sports Tonight," 6/17).