Local Notes

CGA, SCGA won’t follow grooves rules

USGA implements standard for high-level golfers

bspear@thestate.comFebruary 17, 2013 

The Carolinas Golf Association will not require players in its tournaments to use wedges that conform to USGA “grooves standards” in 2014, and the South Carolina Golf Association is expected to follow suit.

“Our board will meet next week, and I would anticipate our adopting what the CGA has done,” said Happ Lathrop, executive director of the SCGA. “We will not play under different rules in the Carolinas.”

In 2010, the USGA enacted the grooves rules to reduce golf-ball spin rates for golfers at the highest level, and the CGA executive committee reasoned most of its members are not “expert” golfers — professionals or scratch/plus handicap — and do not play at the highest level, such as in the U.S. Amateur.

The 2014 timeline to implement the rule is a “recommendation” and not a “mandate,” the CGA decided. The grooves specifications will be incorporated into the Rules of Golf in 2024, and the state organizations will support the change at that time.

The grooves rules are in effect for the USGA open championships and, in 2014, will be a condition of competition for all USGA tournaments. Golfers attempting to qualify for those championships would be required to play under the new grooves rules.

“We saw the impact in qualifying for the U.S. Senior Open last year (with the revised rules in effect),” Lathrop said. “Our number of entries dropped from 80 to 34. Most players are not going to buy a new set of wedges to use one day in an attempt to qualify.”

Brown moves up

With limited status on the PGA Tour, former USC Aiken All-American Scott Brown has to make the most of his opportunities, and he did in his first 2013 start — a tie for 30th in the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach.

“Not too bad,” said Brown, who finished 148th on the 2012 money list in his rookie season.

Players 126-150 in earnings have a low PGA Tour priority, and Brown said he would play Web.com events to keep sharp. His next big-tour start will be in Puerto Rico in three weeks, an event played opposite the WCG tourney at Doral.

Brown, who lives in North Augusta, should have good vibes there; he finished fifth a year ago for one of his three top-10 finishes.

“I think three top-10s and getting into contention a few times makes for a pretty good rookie year,” he said. “The experience is going to help me in the future. I know more about the golf courses, the travel and such. I’m looking forward to the year.”

Brown and wife Allison had their first child, daughter Ellie, last year. Brown withdrew from the Greenbrier tourney and raced home from West Virginia after Allison went into labor.

Chip shots

Camden Country Club will honor the memory of Jimmy Creed by staging a junior tournament called the Creed Junior Boys’ Invitational. “He loved kids and was very supportive of junior golfers at the club,” Camden head professional Matt McCarley said of Creed, who passed away in October. Proceeds from the May 25-26 event will go to scholarships for local youngsters. ... Three-time SCGA player of the year Todd White (Hilton Head) boosted his Walker Cup credentials with a tie for sixth in the Jones Cup Invitational. ... AJGA Southeast Regional Manager Lindsay Dodge will set up an office at the Heritage Classic Foundation headquarters on Hilton Head Island. ... The Clemson men open their spring season today in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico, with a lineup that includes Crawford Reeves, Billy Kennerly, Thomas Bradshaw, Cody Proveaux and Stephen Behr. ... USC’s men begin their spring season Friday-Sunday in the Bayou City Collegiate in Houston, and the USC women’s next tourney is March 8-10 in the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate on Hilton Head Island. ... Ashlan Ramsey, who has signed to play on Clemson’s first women’s team this fall, has been invited to participate in the LPGA Tour’s Kraft Nabisco Championship April 4-7 in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

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