Players react to Tour’s driver testing: ‘Is there an option for ridiculous?’

November 1, 2019

The PGA Tour’s driver testing protocol has been a hot-button issue since it was introduced prior to the start of the 2019-20 season. Coming on the heels of Xander Schauffele’s run-in with the R&A at the 2019 Open Championship — Schauffele’s driver was deemed to be non-conforming by a single microsecond (258) — the Tour put in place testing procedures for drivers in use during competitive rounds.

Prior to this season, the USGA’s Equipment Standards Team only conducted CT tests — which measures the driver’s springlike effect — on new clubs provided by manufacturers.

It didn’t take long for multiple players to have their drivers fail the USGA’s CT test. According to a Reuters report, Corey Conners, Robert Streb, Jason Dufner, Michael Thompson and Mark Hubbard had drivers go above the 257-microsecond threshold at the Safeway Open, which happened to be the same event GOLF conducted its 2019 Anonymous Pro Survey.

For this year’s survey, GOLF asked pros to give their thoughts on a wide range of topics, including the Tour’s driver testing protocol. As you’d expect, a few players didn’t hold back.

When asked if the Tour’s driver testing at tournaments was adequate, 58 percent of players said it wasn’t sufficient. “They’re not doing everyone — that’s not enough,” said one player. Another asked if there “was an option for ridiculous?”

While some might not like the Tour’s new testing process, most players believe their counterparts aren’t knowingly using non-conforming products during competitive rounds. Less than 20 percent of those polled believe players are purposely employing a hot driver.

As far as the percentage of players using a non-conforming driver during a random round, the 52 surveyed said just 18 percent (average of all responses) of the field would have their driver fail. However, one player believed the number would’ve been closer to half the field prior to the Tour’s new rule going in place: “40 percent less than a month ago, 10-15 percent now.”

You can read the entire Anonymous Pro Survey here.

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