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PGA Tour postpones driver test

With a growing number of players suspicious about hot drivers, the PGA Tour planned to experiment at the Western Open with a portable test measuring the trampoline effect and determining whether drivers conformed to the rules.

Now, the test has been postponed indefinitely.

``Even though it's a fairly simple test and a quick test, we've got to make sure we're comfortable with it,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. ``We have notified manufacturers we're considering it, and probably will utilize it at some point.''

Tiger Woods is among those think it should be used sooner rather than later, and he met with Finchem last week during the Memorial.

``I think that's our biggest concern out here on Tour, to make sure the CORs are correct,'' Woods told reporters after his final round Sunday.

The current test for coefficient of restitution (COR) -- how quickly the ball springs off the face of the club at impact -- requires the driver to be taken apart at the USGA Research and Test Center.

The USGA has proposed a portable test that requires only a low-speed strike to the club by a small weight on a pendulum.

``The Tour is doing what the Tour wants to do,'' said Dick Rugge, senior technical director at the USGA. ``We believe the test is very reliable.''

Rugge said the USGA does not plan to test drivers at the 2004 U.S. Open to make sure they are not over the limit. If testing ever gets used on the PGA Tour, Finchem said any test would not be mandatory.

Is it necessary?

``Companies are trying to get a competitive edge,'' Lee Janzen said. ``They're going to get as close to the line as they can.''

Finchem also believes the portable test ultimately will ``take the mystery out of things.''

``We've got so many different equipment manufacturers in the process,'' he said. ``I think the rules people need the ability that if the question arose, they're in a position to check.''

 

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