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A report north of the border, surfaced last month that the USGA was planning on testing rolled back golf balls. Since the time of the report, two 59s (the fourth and fifth ever) appeared on the PGA Tour that made news along with a few more lower that usual scores. Three players have shot 60 this year – Steve Stricker (John Deere Classic), Carl Petterson (RBC Canadian Open) and J.B. Holmes (Greenbrier Classic). Ross Fisher won the 3 Irish Open this past weekend thanks to a third-round 61, which had the chance to be lower. D.A. Points shot 61 at the Greenbrier Classic, 17-year-old Bobby Wyatt shots 57 in the Alabama state boys high school championship, Trevor Murphy shot 56 in a Nationwide Tour pro-am and Ryo Ishikawa got the party started, in a sense, when he shot 58 back on May 2, 2010 in the final round of The Crowns to win a Japan Tour tournament. The reigning US Open Champion, Graeme McDowell said he shot 59 (for the first time) recently while playing with his father, an uncle and a friend near his home in Portrush, Northern Ireland. And how can we forget 20-year-old Rory McIlroy shot a 62 on the final day at Quail Hollow to come from behind for his first PGA Tour victory.
With the insanity of low scores popping up in the year that the worldwide tours instituted a condition of competition for grooves, could the golf ball find itself under closer scrutiny?
Dick Rugge, the USGA Senior Technical Director, is the person entrusted to overseeing the ruling body’s research on equipment. His research is an ongoing process that isn’t influenced by what happens from one week to the next on the PGA Tour.
“In April 2005, we invited golf ball manufacturers to make some prototype reduced distance golf balls for us to conduct various kinds of tests,” he wrote in an email to the Daily Pulse. “Most of the well known golf ball manufacturers provided us with prototype balls.