Only golf nerds pay attention to the fact that the PGA Tour has put into effect groove specifications for the 2010 season. I’m sure I’ve already lost a lot of people, but essentially the PGA Tour is attacking golf club technology by restricting the depth and width of the grooves on the club face. The deeper and wider the grooves, the more spin created, and the easier it is to play precision shots from places other than the fairway. It’s not a change that many people expected would have a huge impact on Tour, and the effects should be felt in a similar fashion across the board. But, there always seems to be a loophole, and there is one in this case. One that has PGA pros scrambling to Ebay.
There are people who will go to their grave preaching the fact that the Ping Eye 2 was the greatest iron ever developed. It’s surely the most important, and its presence forever changed golf. The club that originally possessed the “square grooves” that are now illegal sold more sets and held its value more than any club in history. Players of all calibers still play them today, over 20 years after their debut. People get them re-finished, buy back-up sets, and take any precaution necessary to make sure they always have their Pings. The club made the company, and honestly carried them through a long stretch where they weren’t making great equipment.
It was a controversial club when it first appeared on Tour, and the PGA spent a long time examining the legality of its grooves. Ping filed lawsuit to keep the clubs in play and won a judgement that included the provision that any Ping Eye 2 iron made before April, 1990 would always be considered a legal golf club. That judgement takes precedent over the recent rule changes on grooves, and because of that, guys on Tour, who sometimes change their wedges every 3 or 4 months have put 20-year-old clubs in the bag. John Daly is one of the pros using old Ping wedges this week in Hawaii. He’s apparently collected several sets over the years, and is planning on using them off and on during the season.
He’s not the only one. Apparently some pros have turned to Ebay and other outlets to look for conforming Ping Wedges from pre-April 1990. It’s not to say that every guy on Tour is going to end up with one of these in his bag, but I think it’s a case of a couple guys are doing it, and the others want to make sure they aren’t getting an advantage.
Considering a few Ping Eye 2’s have made their way into my bag over the years I couldn’t resist this story. Also, if you have an old set lying around maybe you want to dust it off. I checked EBay, we’re not talking Wii hysteria or anything yet, but you never know. Regardless, if you have Ping Eye 2’s, you have yourself a collector’s item.