Local Qualifying For 2010 U.S. Open Exempt 
From Condition Of Competition For New Groove Rules


Far Hills, N.J. (Sept. 22) – The United States Golf Association will adopt the new groove rules as a condition of competition for the 2010 U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open starting with the sectional (final stage) qualifying events for each of the three championships. The condition of competition regarding grooves will not be in effect at local (first stage) qualifying events for the 2010 U.S. Open Championship.

The USGA will adopt the condition of competition for U.S. Open local qualifying beginning in 2011 and for the national championships and team competitions it conducts for amateur players no later than 2014, as originally indicated.

“We plan to adopt the condition of competition for all stages of Open qualifying in 2011, but 2010 will be a transitional year for the 9,000 players who typically try to qualify for the U.S. Open,” said Mike Davis, USGA senior director of Rules and Competitions. “The important point is that any player who is one step from making it into any of the three Open championships will be playing with clubs that conform to this new condition of competition.”  

Announced by the USGA and R&A in August 2008, the revisions to the Rules of Golf, which place new restrictions on golf club grooves, will go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2010.  The regulations control the cross-sectional area of grooves on all clubs, with the exception of drivers and putters, and limit groove edge sharpness on clubs with lofts equal to or greater than 25 degrees (generally a standard 5-iron and above). The rules apply to clubs submitted to the USGA for conformance evaluation on or after Jan. 1, 2010.

The PGA Tour (including the Champions and Nationwide Tours), European PGA Tour and other members of the International Federation of PGA Tours, as well as the LPGA, intend to adopt this condition of competition at their tournaments beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The PGA of America and Augusta National Golf Club intend to adopt this condition of competition at the PGA Championship and Masters Tournament, respectively, in 2010. 

Additional information about the new regulations on grooves, including technical specifications, may be found in the Equipment section of www.usga.org. Questions regarding the groove regulations should be addressed to Dick Rugge, USGA senior technical director, via e-mail at drugge@usga.org. Questions regarding the condition of competition should be addressed to Mike Davis, USGA senior director of Rules and Competitions, via e-mail at mdavis@usga.org.

A question-and-answer document containing additional information about the condition of competition can be found at: http://www.usga.org/news/2009/september/qa_groove.aspx

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The USGA is the national governing body of golf in the USA and Mexico, a combined territory that includes more than half the world’s golfers and golf courses. 

The USGA annually conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, 10 national amateur and two state team championships. It also helps conduct the Walker Cup Match, Curtis Cup Match and World Amateur Team Championships.

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