Mickelson expects Tour to get into groove dispute

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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson expects the PGA Tour to take action after the world number two was accused of cheating by fellow American Scott McCarron at this week's San Diego Open.

McCarron criticized Mickelson for exploiting a loophole in golf's new groove rules by using a 20-year-old Ping wedge during the tournament, although the club has been approved for play.

"We all have our opinions on the matter but a line was crossed and I was publicly slandered," Mickelson told reporters Saturday after carding a two-under-par 70 in the third round at Torrey Pines.

"Because of that, I'll have to let other people handle it."

Asked whether he was considering legal action, Mickelson replied: "I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I think the (PGA) Tour will probably get on top of it."

McCarron, who missed the second-round cut at Torrey Pines, said earlier this week that three-times major winner Mickelson was "taking an unfair advantage of the rules."

McCarron told Friday's San Francisco Chronicle: "It's cheating and I'm appalled Phil has put it in play.

"All those guys should be ashamed of themselves for doing that. As one of our premier players, (Mickelson) should be one of the guys who steps up and says this is wrong."


As of January 1, new rules relating to club-face grooves were implemented at the top level after research found modern configurations could allow players to generate almost as much spin with irons from the rough as from the fairway.

All clubs, with the exception of drivers and putters, have been affected by the change which limits groove volume and groove-edge sharpness, effectively replacing U-grooves with V-grooves.

McCarron took exception to the Ping-Eye 2 wedge used this week by Mickelson, a club with square grooves which is legal because of a lawsuit won by its manufacturer over the United States Golf Association in 1990.

Thursday, Mickelson agreed with McCarron's overall stance but took exception at how his compatriot had made his point.

"I totally agree with him (McCarron)," Mickelson said. "I think it's a ridiculous rule.

"But it's not up to me or any other player to interpret what the interpretation of the rule is or the spirit of the rule. All my clubs are approved for play, and I take that very seriously not to violate any rule.

"I don't agree with the way he (McCarron) carried on about it, but that's his choice."

(Editing by John O'Brien)