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Rory Sabbatini DQ'd for non-conforming club


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I just saw Rory Sabbatini was disqualified yesterday because he had one of those little dots you put on a clubface when using a Trackman device.  By rules the Tour said that made the club non-conforming since it didn't leave the factory in that condition. Seems a bit strict but the rules have always been crazy in certain spots.  Does this rule apply to clubfaces only?  I've seen guys playing clubs a couple years old that still have the shaft sticker near the head saying where all the components were made.  How about name ID labels?  I have them on all my clubs and play in tournaments.  

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Under Rule 4.1 of the Rules of Golf, Sabbatini was DQ’d for having a non-conforming external attachment on one of his fairway woods.

 

He obviously didn't do it intentionally nor did it do anything to affect his performance, but he knew it was wrong and he sought out a rules official to let them know what happened. 

 

Rules are rules...

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What I see in the USGA book -

 

(1) Conforming Clubs. In making a stroke, a player must use a club that conforms to the requirements in the Equipment Rules:

  • A club used to make a stroke must conform not only when the club is new, but also when it has been deliberately or accidentally changed in any way.

  • But if the performance characteristics of a conforming club change because of wear through normal use, it is still a conforming club.

“Performance characteristics” means any part of the club that affects how it performs in making a stroke, such as its grip, shaft, clubhead or lie or loft (including lie or loft of an adjustable club).


end of rule quote.

 


 

 

 

If this were applied verbatim, then it would seem that any wedge that has had its grind modified, or any club that has had lead or tungsten tape applied, or any hollow club that has a foam or other product injected would be non-conforming.

Taken to the absurd level, it also states that *any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming, in which case virtually every club in play would be so.

Edited by Jeff58
Attempt to clarify.
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10 minutes ago, Jeff58 said:

What I see in the USGA book -

 

(1) Conforming Clubs. In making a stroke, a player must use a club that conforms to the requirements in the Equipment Rules:

  • A club used to make a stroke must conform not only when the club is new, but also when it has been deliberately or accidentally changed in any way.

  • But if the performance characteristics of a conforming club change because of wear through normal use, it is still a conforming club.

“Performance characteristics” means any part of the club that affects how it performs in making a stroke, such as its grip, shaft, clubhead or lie or loft (including lie or loft of an adjustable club).

 

If this were applied verbatim, then it would seem that any wedge that has had its grind modified, or any club that has had lead or tungsten tape applied, or any hollow club that has a foam or other product injected would be non-conforming.

Taken to the absurd level, it also states that *any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming, in which case virtually every club in play would be so.

Have you also read The Equipment Rules?

https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/Equipment/Equipment Rules 2020 v2.pdf

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14 minutes ago, Jeff58 said:

What I see in the USGA book -

 

(1) Conforming Clubs. In making a stroke, a player must use a club that conforms to the requirements in the Equipment Rules:

  • A club used to make a stroke must conform not only when the club is new, but also when it has been deliberately or accidentally changed in any way.

  • But if the performance characteristics of a conforming club change because of wear through normal use, it is still a conforming club.

“Performance characteristics” means any part of the club that affects how it performs in making a stroke, such as its grip, shaft, clubhead or lie or loft (including lie or loft of an adjustable club).

 

If this were applied verbatim, then it would seem that any wedge that has had its grind modified, or any club that has had lead or tungsten tape applied, or any hollow club that has a foam or other product injected would be non-conforming.

Taken to the absurd level, it also states that *any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming, in which case virtually every club in play would be so.

 

Where does it  state "*any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming" ?

 

Your first bullet point actually covers your questioning of ANY altered club.

 

Implicit within "must conform..... when deliberately changed" is a club is ALLOWED to have the grind changed or tape applied so long as the club is STILL conforming after the change.

Edited by nsxguy
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20 minutes ago, jholz said:

 

I wouldn't be so quick to let Sabbs off the hook here. 

 

Reminds me of an episode of "Mission: Impossible" from back in the day where the Svardian government was supporting international terrorists with purses from the European Tour. They used a top secret tracking device to influence ball flight and the Svardian champion Yovak Yenokovich had the grand slam and $2.8mil. in winnings in 1967, so the the PGA hired Jim Phelps and the team to expose the scam. Billy Caspar and Doug Sanders made cameos and "Rollin Hand" sank the winning putt at the '67 Pebble Beach pro am to expose the Svardian plan. 

 

Classic episode if you haven't seen it.

 

In any event, I wouldn't be surprised if Sabbatini and some financial backers were up to something similar here. 😁

 

Loved the old MI show.  Had a huge crush on Lynda Day George.

 

Lynda Day George | Match Game Wiki | Fandom

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5 minutes ago, nsxguy said:

 

Where does it  state "*any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming" ?

 

Your first bullet point actually covers your questioning of ANY altered club.

 

Implicit within "must conform..... when deliberately changed" is a club is ALLOWED to have the grind changed or tape applied so long as the club is STILL conforming after the change.

Yup.  A club has to conform when new and also conform after it has been altered.  The rule doesn't say a club cannot be altered.  The interpretation about adding anything to the face of a club is pretty black and white - you can't add anything to the face period.

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37 minutes ago, nsxguy said:

 

Where does it  state "*any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming" ?

 

Your first bullet point actually covers your questioning of ANY altered club.

 

Implicit within "must conform..... when deliberately changed" is a club is ALLOWED to have the grind changed or tape applied so long as the club is STILL conforming after the change.


I’m copying the rule here. This is an image of the rule book.

 

6BBD9BC8-D63B-406C-8A8E-A3069F53A55B.png.3b863801ceca7b0fa81b0e94233c708d.png

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30 minutes ago, PhlashPhace said:

Yup.  A club has to conform when new and also conform after it has been altered.  The rule doesn't say a club cannot be altered.  The interpretation about adding anything to the face of a club is pretty black and white - you can't add anything to the face period.


Where is that stated please? 

And if that’s the case, then something like paint fill would also be illegal, correct?

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1 minute ago, Jeff58 said:


I’m copying the rule here. This is an image of the rule book.

 

6BBD9BC8-D63B-406C-8A8E-A3069F53A55B.png.3b863801ceca7b0fa81b0e94233c708d.png

 

I read it.

 

I understand what you posted and responded to it.

 

What I don't understand is your point. :einstein:

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11 minutes ago, Jeff58 said:


Where is that stated please? 

And if that’s the case, then something like paint fill would also be illegal, correct?

Paint fill would be considered a permanent coating and is allowed under the rules.  A sticker or tape is not allowed.  Really the only exception of something that isn't permanent is leftover cleaning residue or back in the day baby oil on Camerons that doesn't influence performance characteristics.  It's in the Equipment Rules book under section 2.  

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@nsxguy Sorry, will attempt to clarify.

 

If any club that has been knowingly altered in any way by definition becomes non conforming, then the majority of clubs in use are non conforming.

 

There is no statement that I see that this applies specifically to the club face. Rather, it states that it applies to any part of the club, including the grip, which seems to imply that you can’t change grips from an original conforming state.

 

In the current case, if the club were a driver, the USGA would test the club in question for conformity to applicable rules (I.e. COR). Clearly, if the Sabbatini club was altered from the original state, as had so many others, the player might alert the USGA of the alteration, but whether this produced a club that was no longer conforming to a specific objective metric must be determined by the USGA. 

Edited by Jeff58
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6 minutes ago, PhlashPhace said:

Paint fill would be considered a permanent coating and is allowed under the rules.  A sticker or tape is not allowed.  Really the only exception of something that isn't permanent is leftover cleaning residue or back in the day baby oil on Camerons that doesn't influence performance characteristics.  It's in the Equipment Rules book under section 2.  


What about lead tape? Grip tape? Hosel plugs? Hot melt?

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Just now, Jeff58 said:


What about lead tape? Grip tape? Hosel plugs? Hot melt?

The USGA Club rule specifically states that no type of tape is allowed on the club face.  It literally says any type of tape or similar material added to the face is not permitted under any circumstance so I'm not sure why this is even an issue...

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10 minutes ago, Jeff58 said:

@nsxguy Sorry, will attempt to clarify.

 

If any club that has been knowingly altered in any way by definition becomes non conforming, then the majority of clubs in use are non conforming.

 

There is no statement that I see that this applies specifically to the club face. Rather, it states that it applies to any part of the club, including the grip, which seems to imply that you can’t change grips from an original conforming state.

 

In the current case, if the club were a driver, the USGA would test the club in question for conformity to applicable rules (I.e. COR). Clearly, if the Sabbatini club was altered from the original state, as had so many others, the player might alert the USGA of the alteration, but whether this produced a club that was no longer conforming to a specific objective metric must be determined by the USGA. 

 

Correct but that's not what you originally posted nor what the rule section you posted says.

 

Read my previous post. According to what YOU posted, If it's STILL conforming AFTER a change you're good to go.

 

As for the club face, see below.

 

7 minutes ago, Jeff58 said:


What about lead tape? Grip tape? Hosel plugs? Hot melt?

 

Here ya go. (Interpretations btw)

 

1.a(5) - External Attachments

While this clause prohibits the attachment of anything to the club which could potentially have an effect on its performance (e.g. aiming bars or weights), other items may be permitted to be attached to certain parts of the club provided (a) no performance benefit can be derived, and (b) no other Equipment Rules are breached, as well as Rule 4.3 of the Rules of Golf (Use of Equipment).

 

Examples of attachments that could be permitted include:

 

• Temporary, non-permanent attachments to the shaft such as decals for identification - such attachments, for identification only, may also be permitted on the clubhead (other than the face). Additionally, tape to protect the shaft is permitted. However, these attachments must not be usable for any other purpose (e.g. alignment).

 

• Temporary, non-permanent attachments to the shaft (e.g. “clip-on” devices), provided such items do not excessively protrude from the shaft, their cross-section conforms to the shape of the shaft and they are sufficiently fixed. Other “clip-on” devices that do not conform to the shape of the shaft (e.g. a club “prop” for use in wet weather) may be attached to the shaft between shots but must be removed prior to making a stroke.

 

• Other material added to the shaft, such as for alignment purposes, provided it is considered semi-permanent. However, such applications must not breach Rule 4.3. “Semi-permanent” is interpreted to mean durable and not easily removable. Additionally, it must not be re-usable and/or must be essentially destroyed upon removal.

 

• Temporary, non-permanent attachments to the butt end of the grip such as tee pegs, ball markers or ball retrieving devices, provided:

such items do not cause the grip to be considered moulded for the hands or create a bulge or waist in the grip; and

the outer diameter of the item is less than or equal to the outer diameter of the butt end of the grip and the item does not extend beyond the butt end of the grip by more than 2 inches (50.8mm).

 

• Other temporary, non-permanent attachments to any part of the grip other than the butt end, provided such items are removed prior to making a stroke. However, tape or gauze applied to the full length of the grip is permitted provided the grip conforms in its modified state and the underlying grip conforms.

 

• Attachments to the clubhead (other than the face), such as protective coverings, decorative items or alignment aids, provided the item is semi-permanent. However, such items must not excessively protrude from the clubhead and must conform to the shape of the clubhead. Also, for driving clubs, such attachments must not serve to cause any confusion with the correct identification of a club on the Conforming Driver List. Such attachments should, therefore, be subtle, plain in appearance and discreetly positioned. Permanent additions to a clubhead would be considered part of the head and, therefore, the head, in its modified state, would have to conform to Part 2, Section 4 of the Equipment Rules (i.e. for dimensions and “plain in shape”).

 

The two long-standing permissible “external attachments” are (a) the permission to use lead tape on the shaft or the head for weighting, and (b) the use of a suction cup at the end of the grip of a putter to assist with retrieving the ball from the hole. While lead tape can affect the performance of the club and a rubber suction cup would exceed the diameter of the butt end of the grip, the use of both of these items continue to be permitted on a traditional basis (but see Section 4b(i) below for details on the use of lead tape on driver heads with a high Moment of Inertia).

Edited by nsxguy
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Question: Could a wedge conform when new, but through use (dings, scratches, groove wear, etc.), become unconforming? 

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5 hours ago, nsxguy said:

 

Where does it  state "*any* modification to an original state makes it non-conforming" ?

 

Your first bullet point actually covers your questioning of ANY altered club.

 

Implicit within "must conform..... when deliberately changed" is a club is ALLOWED to have the grind changed or tape applied so long as the club is STILL conforming after the change.

Exactly

 

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4 hours ago, PhlashPhace said:

Paint fill would be considered a permanent coating and is allowed under the rules.  A sticker or tape is not allowed.  Really the only exception of something that isn't permanent is leftover cleaning residue or back in the day baby oil on Camerons that doesn't influence performance characteristics.  It's in the Equipment Rules book under section 2.  

They had a big whoop te do arguement on one of the Golf Sites on FB the other night about the exact same thing involving using gun oil on a Cameron putter. I told them the exact same thing you stated and several others backed me up on it. I ended up getting POed and quit the site. Some of the people were equalling it to Vaselene or Chap stick on the face of a driver. I think 6 of us quit that site after that deal

Driver--- TM M-6 Evenflow 65gm R set to 9.5

3W  TM V-Steel 15* bent to 14 NVS green Aldila 65gr R

7W TM V-steel 21* Ust Pro Force Gold 65 R

Irons 5 thru PW 2016 TM TP CBs--- Steelfiber 95 R shafts

GW  Ping Eye2 + Cleveland wedge shaft 51* 

SW Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind -- Modified grind to 10* KBS Wedge shaft

Putter Rusty Scotty Sante Fe Fluted Bullseye shaft--- No it aint going no where

Bag Old TM R-7 stand freebie works good on range and cart

Balls Some kind of Srixon since I have won so many-- Hey new freebies hit good

 

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34 minutes ago, BIG STU said:

They had a big whoop te do arguement on one of the Golf Sites on FB the other night about the exact same thing involving using gun oil on a Cameron putter. I told them the exact same thing you stated and several others backed me up on it. I ended up getting POed and quit the site. Some of the people were equalling it to Vaselene or Chap stick on the face of a driver. I think 6 of us quit that site after that deal

You know what they say about arguing with a fool -

About Arguing With Fools Quotes

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47 minutes ago, BIG STU said:

They had a big whoop te do arguement on one of the Golf Sites on FB the other night about the exact same thing involving using gun oil on a Cameron putter. I told them the exact same thing you stated and several others backed me up on it. I ended up getting POed and quit the site. Some of the people were equalling it to Vaselene or Chap stick on the face of a driver. I think 6 of us quit that site after that deal

I’ve had USGA certifications for about 20 years now and the Camerons actually brought this up, performance benefit of a foreign substance on the face of a club, so they eventually settled on if it was used to change the performance of a club it wasn’t permitted.  Small amounts of cleaning products or oil on a putter face isn’t used to change the performance where putting something slick on a driver face would serve no purpose other than attempting to change performance.

 

The reason the equipment rule reads that a club has to conform both before and after any alterations can actually go back to driver shaving or ever more to the days people used to sand the face of drivers like the Titleist 975D to make them faster before testing became more widely used.

 

The Sabatini example is simple because any sort of tape on the face is expressly forbidden.  If you have a price tag on the face of a club it’s game over in a tournament.

 

People that don’t understand the rules fully tend to read too much in to them when they try to make interpretations.  I think some of the confusion like you can’t change a grip without making your club non-conforming comes from someone reading the rule but not understanding the underlying equipment rule first.

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For info, below is another excerpt from The Equipment Rules, my emphasis added to the last line(s), which certainly clarify the tape or similar material issue.

Performance Characteristics Deliberately Changed
The purpose of this Rule is to penalize a player that purposely modifies his
or her club during a round – for example to a flatter lie, a greater loft, an
alternative weight distribution or changing the head or shaft, regardless of
whether the club has been designed to be adjustable.
Additionally, this Rule penalizes a player that applies materials of a
temporary nature to the face – such as saliva, grass juice, chalk, aerosol
spray or similar substances. Permanent attachments or coatings such as
plasma spray, “balata”-type rubber or paint are covered under Part 2,
Section 5 of the Equipment Rules.
The most important question to ask when ruling on a club which has had
something temporarily applied to the face by a player is “why has it been
put there?” If a material or substance has been applied to the face in order
to protect it or clean it, then it would probably be permitted provided all
other Rules are satisfied. However, if the purpose of the application is to
influence the movement of the ball or assist the player in making a stroke,
it would be prohibited.
Any type of tape or similar material added to the face is not permitted for
any purpose.

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6 hours ago, PhlashPhace said:

No.  A club that wears through normal use will always conform so long as it conformed when new.  Normal use is the key.

And the definition of 'normal use' is helpful (below). I got into it with a guy that claimed his wedges were conforming and cleaning the groves with a "groove cleaner" was normal use. His grove cleaning device was really a sharpener and as he used it through-out the round several times (X many rounds) I suggested there was no way his grooved could still meet the standard of still conforming as they had been altered and altered club was treated as new the altered state must conform. 

 

Normal use includes strokes, practice strokes and practice swings, as well as acts such as removing a club from and replacing a club into the golf bag. If wear through normal use occurs, the player's club is treated as conforming, and he or she may continue to use it. 

Examples of wear through normal use include when:

  • Material inside a clubhead has broken loose and may rattle during the stroke or when the head is shaken. 
  • A wear mark has formed on the club's grip where the thumbs are placed.
  • A depression is formed on the club face through repeated use. 
  • The grooves on the club's face are worn.
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10 hours ago, rogolf said:

You know what they say about arguing with a fool -

About Arguing With Fools Quotes

Absolutely!!! My Old Man was very fond of that statement

Driver--- TM M-6 Evenflow 65gm R set to 9.5

3W  TM V-Steel 15* bent to 14 NVS green Aldila 65gr R

7W TM V-steel 21* Ust Pro Force Gold 65 R

Irons 5 thru PW 2016 TM TP CBs--- Steelfiber 95 R shafts

GW  Ping Eye2 + Cleveland wedge shaft 51* 

SW Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind -- Modified grind to 10* KBS Wedge shaft

Putter Rusty Scotty Sante Fe Fluted Bullseye shaft--- No it aint going no where

Bag Old TM R-7 stand freebie works good on range and cart

Balls Some kind of Srixon since I have won so many-- Hey new freebies hit good

 

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10 hours ago, PhlashPhace said:

I’ve had USGA certifications for about 20 years now and the Camerons actually brought this up, performance benefit of a foreign substance on the face of a club, so they eventually settled on if it was used to change the performance of a club it wasn’t permitted.  Small amounts of cleaning products or oil on a putter face isn’t used to change the performance where putting something slick on a driver face would serve no purpose other than attempting to change performance.

 

The reason the equipment rule reads that a club has to conform both before and after any alterations can actually go back to driver shaving or ever more to the days people used to sand the face of drivers like the Titleist 975D to make them faster before testing became more widely used.

 

The Sabatini example is simple because any sort of tape on the face is expressly forbidden.  If you have a price tag on the face of a club it’s game over in a tournament.

 

People that don’t understand the rules fully tend to read too much in to them when they try to make interpretations.  I think some of the confusion like you can’t change a grip without making your club non-conforming comes from someone reading the rule but not understanding the underlying equipment rule first.

You hit it dead square in the sweet spot in the last paragraph

Driver--- TM M-6 Evenflow 65gm R set to 9.5

3W  TM V-Steel 15* bent to 14 NVS green Aldila 65gr R

7W TM V-steel 21* Ust Pro Force Gold 65 R

Irons 5 thru PW 2016 TM TP CBs--- Steelfiber 95 R shafts

GW  Ping Eye2 + Cleveland wedge shaft 51* 

SW Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind -- Modified grind to 10* KBS Wedge shaft

Putter Rusty Scotty Sante Fe Fluted Bullseye shaft--- No it aint going no where

Bag Old TM R-7 stand freebie works good on range and cart

Balls Some kind of Srixon since I have won so many-- Hey new freebies hit good

 

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Drivers that were once conforming can become non-conforming through normal use if they breach the CT limit, which I gather just means they get "bouncier" over time through normal use.  I believe that was the story behind Xander Schauffele's driver being deemed non-conforming.  Not sure if that's just a narrow exception to the "normal use" rule or what.  

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3 hours ago, jimbo123 said:

Drivers that were once conforming can become non-conforming through normal use if they breach the CT limit, which I gather just means they get "bouncier" over time through normal use.  I believe that was the story behind Xander Schauffele's driver being deemed non-conforming.  Not sure if that's just a narrow exception to the "normal use" rule or what.  

That was Callaway’s take on things.  The driver he had in the bag had never been tested by the USGA or R&A before that point.  Callaway tested it at 255 the week of the Open and the R&A tested it at 258 so it’s more likely that one CT machine or the other wasn’t calibrated correctly than the face got faster through normal use.  Ping also had a head fail the R&A test that week.

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