More confusion about the ERC

The LPGA crosses the rules boundaries between the R&A and USGA. The ERC is causing confusion

Wed, 26 Apr 2000

The saga surrounding the new Callaway ERC driver is spreading like wildfire across the globe causing confusion wherever it roams. The latest conundrum to be solved is by the LPGA whose tournaments cross the rules boundaries between the R&A and USGA.

The USGA, who govern the rules on the majority of the LPGA circuit, have banned the new driver, deeming it to be too "hot" for use in any competition under their rules. They say the thin-faced drivers have exceeded the limits on its new spring-like effect test. The R&A has no such test -- and no such ban. But the R&A, who govern three tournaments on the LPGA, The Australian Masters, The Evian Masters and the Mizuno Classic in Japan, have not made a decision on the ERC and the club will be conforming in those tournaments, for now.

LPGA Tour deputy commissioner Jim Webb is one of many waiting to see how the Royal & Ancient will respond to Callaway Golf's new ERC and 11 other "hot" drivers that have been banned on the latest list by the USGA.

"If a player uses it over here, she would be in violation of USGA rules," Webb said. "But since we play under the R&A rules in joint sanction with another tour, we abide by those rules. I wish they would both agree so we wouldn't be in that situation."

Webb said he wasn't aware of any player using the drivers deemed non-conforming by the USGA during the Australian Masters in February, or of anyone planning to use one in France next month.

The R&A has said it hopes to have an opinion on the drivers by the British Open at St. Andrews in July.

Already, Michael Campbell has used the driver in a tournament in Australia and Colin Montgomerie will use it this week at the Spanish Open, providing he finds the right shaft to suit him.

And just to let you know that everyone at the USGA are taking their ruling seriously, the final word must go to David Fay, executive director of the USGA..."No. Nor would I ground my club in a bunker or nudge my ball into a better lie." , when asked whether he would use the Callaway ERC driver in a casual round of golf. A bit too serious for my liking, does he not like to have a bit of fun on a course...or did Callaway not give him a nice little freebie to sweeten him up?