On Wednesday at Riviera, site of this week's Nothern Trust Open, Phil Mickelson spoke up, and it is as heated and intense as you will see Lefty with a camera on him.
As you have been blundered with over the last week, Mickelson's wedges have been the hot topic, as fellow touring pro Scott McCarron called Phil out for it, naming the use of the Ping Eye2 wedges "cheating." Phil, who has been adamant about the stupidity of the rule change, spoke up again at his disgust with the USGA and their inability to hammer this down, but admitted that he will not be carrying the Ping Eye2 wedge this week, out of respect for his fellow pros.
I respect these players out here. I like and respect these players. And last year when my wife and I were at one of our low points, these players came together and did one of the nicest things that could have ever been done to show support, and it meant tons for me. And out of respect for them, I do not want to have an advantage over anybody, whether it's perceived or actual.
So this week I won't be playing that wedge. My point has been made. I won't play it.
Phil went on to say that McCarron approached him and apologized, leading Mickelson to say, "I appreciate him being a big enough man to do that." That doesn't stop the fact that Phil is the ring-leader in this attack of the rule and the USGA. Phil is upset, for good reason, because the area regarding what is and isn't legal remains gray.
Basically, it is up to one rule maker determining what wedges can and can't be played, and Mickelson has continually said that it adds too much strain on the players and the manufacturers. While he said that he would ditch the controversial wedges for now, Phil gave the USGA some serious warning -- if things don't change, the Ping Eye2 will be back in the bag.
I hope that the governing bodies get forced into changing their rule making process. I hope there's more transparency amongst the governing body. We cannot have one man have arbitrary power over this. It's frustrating for players, and it's extremely frustrating for manufacturers, and I hope all this stuff gets changed.
If it doesn't, if there's no pressure amongst these organizations to make changes, I will immediately put the club back in play.
No matter your thoughts on Phil, I think it is obvious that he isn't the only pro upset with what is going on with the new groove rules. People have spoken up left and right about the pain that this has caused, and Mickelson, being the top golfer in the game playing right now, took it upon himself to raise cain at the PGA and the USGA. Obviously there is a ton that needs to get ironed out, and Phil even admitted that these changes help him, but he said that he wants what is best for the game of golf, and right now, this isn't it.
Before last week, I thought there were a ton of things that might knock Tiger out of the headline of the golfing world, but I never in my life thought it would be a wedge made back in the early '90s. Winners in all this? Mickelson, Ping, and eBay sellers. The losers are the people that keep getting ripped by the defending champion of the tournament that starts on Thursday (That would be Lefty himself).