Golfer puts Ping behind him

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Golfer puts Ping behind him

LOS ANGELES - Phil Mickelson is still steaming over new rules governing clubface grooves, but said Wednesday he won’t use the old Ping-Eye 2 wedge when he defends his title at the Northern Trust Open this week.

Mickelson put himself at the center of a storm over the rule change when he carried the controversial club at the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines last week. The Ping-Eye 2 manufactured prior to April 1990 doesn’t conform to the new groove requirements of the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrew’s in Scotland, but it is allowed for play in the United States because of the settlement of a lawsuit between Ping and the USGA in 1993. Mickelson’s use of the club last week was called “cheating” by fellow pro Scott McCarron - a comment McCarron retracted with apologies this week.

“I like and respect these players out here, and when my wife and I were at one of our low points, the players came together and did one of the nicest things that could have been done to show support and it meant tons for me,” said Mickelson, whose colleagues rallied behind him as his wife battled cancer last year.

“Out of respect for them, I do not want to have an advantage over them, whether it’s perceived or actual. So this week I won’t be playing that wedge,” he said.

Mickelson said he had accepted a personal apology from McCarron. “I’m ready to put that behind us,” he said. “But I’m not ready put the issue behind us. This needs to be addressed.

US PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem reiterated Wednesday that players were entitled to play the Ping-Eye 2. But he said the Tour was exploring ways to close the loophole.

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