SI convened a meeting of its golf experts—senior writers Michael Bamberger, Damon Hack, Alan Shipnuck and Gary Van Sickle—and a PGA Tour pro (who participated on the condition of anonymity) to address the new grooves rule, Tiger's fall from grace, the Great Recession's impact on professional golf and other issues
WORKIN' ON A GROOVY THING
Van Sickle: I can guarantee one thing we'll be talking about next month.
Anonymous Pro: Not Tiger Woods, I hope.
Van Sickle: No, grooves.
Anonymous Pro: The new grooves rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, and grooves are going to be a bigger deal than the players thought. I tried out some [2010 conforming irons] in California on a course with firm greens and couldn't believe how little spin I got on greenside shots. I've already decided to switch to a softer ball.
Shipnuck: At the Pebble Beach Invitational, I walked a couple of holes with four pros using the new grooves. They all said it brings back the high, soft shot, and at a place like Pebble, where the greens are spongy in the winter, you're trying to take spin off shots. The feeling was, players will adapt. The sluggers with mediocre short games will be hurt the most.
Hack: The players with better short games will be that much better.
Van Sickle: You mean like Tiger and Phil?
Hack: Exactly. That said, I'm not going to lose any sleep over grooves as an issue.