January 31st, 2010 by Kristofer Anderson
Ben Crane ended a five year drought on the PGA Tour with a win at the Farmer’s Insurance Open. Crane was able to hold off Marc Leishman by one stroke. Many of you may remember Leishman from his fantastic run in last year’s FEDEX Cup playoff which secured his tour card for the 2010 season. While Crane won the tournament the biggest news of the week was regarding the wedges of one Mr. Phil Mickelson. Phil decided to use wedges from Ping that are older than many of the players on the Tour this season. In a complicated loophole in the rules; a lawsuit filed against the USGA by Ping allows their Eye 2 wedges, produced in the more than twenty years ago, to be exempt from the 2010 groove restrictions.
Many people have their opinions and they range from declaring him an outright cheater, to others who believe he is doing nothing wrong. While this debate can go on forever the fact is that he is not breaking any rules according to the USGA. Other players and fans may not agree, but the bottom line is he can play them all year if he chooses. I don’t believe the groove rule should have ever been enacted so I applaud him for shoving it back in the face of the USGA, an organization that seems to make it as difficult as possible to play by the rules. Having said that it his decisions may show some poor taste given the current state of affairs on the PGA Tour. Without Tiger in the picture it seems as though the PGA may have a rough year.
I am in no way condoning what Tiger Wood’s did in his personal life. However, it does remain his personal life and it should not detract from the fact the he is the greatest golfer to ever live. He lives a life that few others have to live and clearly did not handle his personal life as many expected him to. He has let down millions of fans, sponsors and more importantly his family. It is now time to move on. The fact is the PGA Tour needs Tiger Woods to thrive. He has given golf the excitement that kept it from being considered a mainstream, or cool, sport for so many years. Tiger needs to come back so Phil can have someone to take the heat off his wedge situation.
While many have speculated that he may not return in 2010 I have to disagree. Whenever he comes back he will face the backlash for months or years to come so he might as well get it over with. I just can’t picture Woods missing a Master’s in April. So until he makes his return we will continue to talk about Phil’s wedges look for a newcomer to make a rise to the top.