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Driver testing on PGA Tour to begin in July

David Toms is among those who wonder whether some drivers used on the PGA Tour are legitimate.

Starting this summer, he'll know for sure.

The PGA Tour plans to experiment with a portable device at the Western Open that will measure the trampoline effect in drivers and determine whether they are fit for play.

"It will be interesting to see what the findings are,'' Toms said. "When an equipment rep comes up to you and say, 'Man, this is really close,' what does that mean? That it's over the limit? A lot of guys have picked up a lot of distance. We'll see.''

The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient have proposed the portable test, which would take effect at the start of next year.

Unlike the current test, which must be administered at the USGA Research and Test Center and requires the club to be taken apart, the portable test will require only a low-speed strike to the club face by a small weight on a pendulum.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem mentioned the experiment during a players' meeting last week at Sawgrass. None of the players seemed to mind.

"It's important for all of us to be on the same playing field,'' Tiger Woods said. "That's why we should test drivers on the first tee, to make sure everyone is legit.''

The trampoline effect is based primarily on the thin face of drivers. While manufacturers send their new drivers to the USGA for approval, there are no guarantees that every club -- especially those close to the limit -- meet the standard.

"I've had players come up to me and say, 'Do you think some of the stuff we're getting is too hot?''' Davis Love III said. "They (equipment reps) will hand them to us with a number on them and say, 'This one is close.' And when I hit one that's close, I can't control it.

"There's definitely some that are right on the edge, or over it,'' he said. "It will be nice for a guy to know. I'll be the first one to get in line.''

 

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