Arnold Palmer, a custodian of the rules and traditions of golf since he became a household name in the 60’s went on television this week to refute the allegations made to him about using a non-conforming driver, the Callaway ERC2, in competition.
Palmer denied allegations that he was being paid to use to ERC2, simply that it was there to have a little fun in golf, recreationally.
|The ERC2…Palmer only uses this for recreational golf|
While this does not matter much to us in the UK, as the ERC2 is legal for play under R&A rules, in the USA, the club, and others like it are banned under the USGA’s rules and it is forbidden to play with in any competition.
Palmer, now 70 appeared in a live 90-minute show on The Golf Channel and addressed the burning issue of right and wrong with the banned clubs and even told the show host Peter Kessler that he would punch him on the nose if he so much as accused him of being a cheat!.
"I'm not recommending that people use a nonconforming golf club in competition," Palmer said. "But for people who go out and enjoy the game of golf - recreational golfers -- if they want to use a nonconforming club, if they want to use a baseball bat, whatever they want to use, I think that's their privilege if it makes the game a little more fun for them to play."
"I've had so many letters from people that are saying things to me that hurt me. They have really hurt me," Palmer said. "Some of my good friends have crushed me with some of their letters and some of their comments.
"And there have been things like `cheating' used in their comments about nonconforming golf clubs. The last thing in the world that I would ever tolerate is cheating. If you said it to me sitting here, I'd probably punch you in the nose right now. And I mean it, because I don't think I ever cheated playing golf."
Palmer uses Callaway's conforming VFT Hawk Eye driver in competition and not the ERC2.
Palmer also added that the disparity between the two golfing rules bodies is not good for the game and he hopes that soon it will be resolved whereby all parties are in agreement.
"I just want to see this thing settled," Palmer said. "I have enough faith in the USGA and the R&A and the golfers of this world to think that this will be solved."