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Scott McCarron accuses Phil Mickelson of “cheating”

filesmall Equipment | commentmall Written by BigRed
Phil Mickelson is in the center of yet another controversional debate about the PGA Tour's new equipment rules: Fellow PGA Tour professional Scott McCarron accused him of "cheating" for using the Ping Eye 2 wedge, a club featuring squared grooves that have been banned as of January 1.

Barely one year after Tiger Woods’ caddy Steve Williams insulted Phil Mickelson , Lefty is the center of yet another controversional debate after fellow PGA professional Scott McCarron (winner of three PGA Tour titles) accused Mickelson of cheating during the second round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.

Scott McCarron

In Friday’s edition of the San Francisco Chronicle , McCarron made the remark with respect to Mickelson’s use of the Ping Eye 2 wedge. The club features squared grooves - exactly the kind of club banned all around the world as of January 1. Mickelson is only one of several players who are using the club at this week’s tournament. This is technically legal because of a loophole in the new equipment rules arising from a lawsuit in the 1980s.
All major professional golf organizations have banned the use of squared grooves in order to make it more difficult for players to spin the ball out of the rough and thereby make it more important to hit the fairway of the tee.

However, McCarron stated that using the club was "against the spirit of the game" and that the rule should be changed immediately. Several TV commentators reacted by pointing out that McCarron himself might be acting against the spirit of the game by using a belly putter.

When asked about McCarron’s statement Phil Mickelson agreed that the "rule is ridiculous and that it should be changed". But he insisted that using the pre-1990 club isn’t cheating and that "it isn’t my job [...] to interpret the intent of the rule".

How do you feel about the new groove rule and Scott McCarron’s statement? Do you think that Phil should stop using a club he had in his bag for over a decade? Do you feel that the USGA and/or the PGA Tour need to make further changes to their rules? Please use the comment function to share your thoughts.

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22 Responses to “Scott McCarron accuses Phil Mickelson of “cheating””

  • Imagine Bobby Jones seeking such an advantage. Shame.

  • comment  robert schenkman Says:

    Phil- You are a great lefty golfer & you don’t need the old irons. Phil-you should donate your old irons to charity & let the charity auction the irons to the highest bidder.If you need a great charity,we have the Desert Cancer Foundation in Palm Desert,which would welcome your irons as a donation & would get needed funds to pay the medical bills of the unfortunate in the Coachella Valley.Our Charity Dinner, Auction & Golf tourney is on April 18&19,2010 @ Indian Ridge Country Club & we would welcome your irons & naturally you, if you could surprise us. Good luck & good health to you & your family. Bob Schenkman,(a lefty like you)Charity Co-Chairman

  • Phil if its technicaly legal to use the clubs then the other pro’s should also use these clubs if they think this will help them compete with you. Rules are rules as long as you play by the rules then I don’t see the problem.


  • comment  Mazambane Says:

    Phil I think you will look back at this one day and realize itr was a bad decision and not with in the “spirit of the game”. I cant believe with your talent you need to stoop to this level.

  • comment  Cedar Creek Says:

    If Phil is in the wrong they would stop his use of that club. As far as spirit of the game goes, there are few more spirited players than Phil. So I guess if everyone is so bummed out about his superior equipment, that being a 20 year old wedge, better get in line at ebay. They sell em everyday.

  • Just because Phil can play those square grooves, doesn’t mean he has to. Arnold Palmer would probably say “I won’t play the square grooves if nobody else can. He just should just do what’s right in the spirit of the game.

  • comment  Tim Clyburn Says:

    Phil, if Scott McCarron falsely accused you of cheating he’s wrong then he should pay a severe penalty. As far as the wedges, if it’s legal to play with then they have two choices either purchase the same wedge or quit whining. If you wasent one of the Top Golfers this wouldn’t even be an issue. The “Spirit of the Game” is to relax, enjoy, and be competitive. Just do what you do best(win)and the rest just have to Suck it up…

  • What about the “Spirit of the Game” when Tiger had a boulder moved for him by fans.
    The entourage of many famous golfers who make it difficult for others to compete with.
    The Ryder Cup fiasco of Justin Leonard etc.etc.
    There are many ways of using something to your advantage in the game of golf but in the case of the Ping club everyone has the right to use it or not regardless of your status as a golfer with the fans.
    The game of golf is full of rules. If everyone played strictly by the rules we wouldn’t need marshalls to be called in to determine how far we could stretch them to our advantage.
    The language used was inflammatory to say the least. Considering his status as a player representative I would be very concerned as to how he handles himself in his representation of the players with the PGA.
    “The Spirit of the Game” sounds wonderful doesn’t it but lets not forget “Golf” is big business and every PGA player is fully aware of that fact.
    Professional golf does not need this kind of press right now and someone of Mr. McCarron’s status should be very well aware of this fact.

  • A club is either a)Approved or b)Not Approved. Every club in Phil’s bag has been approved for play by the PGA and, therefore, there is no way that McCarron or anybody else should be using words like “cheater” There is no “spirit of the game”. There are only rules, and Phil has not broken any of them. McCarron should direct his immature vitriole at the appropriate target, the PGA, not Phil Mickelson. The rule is the problem, not Phil.

  • phil, i noticed that mr. mccarron mentioned that there were others that had the old clubs in their bags but never mentioned their names or called them “cheaters”. if you’re going to accuse one, you accuse them all otherwise shut up you cry baby. phil, look at it like this, it’s mind over matter. you shouldn’t mind because he doesn’t matter. and when was the last time he won a tournament?

  • Phil,
    WHY do you want to use that old club? IF it does not give you an unfair advantage……then……WHY use it?

  • comment  Richard Jones Says:

    I’m heartbroken that you would stoop this low, Phil.
    All the good will you had with fans like me is wiped away for what? You played the wedgwe like crap anyway,

    At least Tiger did his cheating OFF the course. You and he are birds of a feather.

  • comment  Maurice Gervais Says:

    3 Feb.

    The Player Association is at fault.

    They have know about the rule and the exception from the beginning.If they had had a vote of the players before Jan 1 2010 asking: Do you agree not to take advantage of the grandfather clause if the majority of the players agree to do so?.

    If the majority says yes then all players remain on equal footing. if it,s no the the PGA knows they have to do something before the start of 2010 season.

    Now that there is nothing legal preventing it, the search for old clubs is on.

  • ahh cmon the new groove regulation is crap anyways. If one person can use em EVERYONE can use em. Either way, anyone has right to use the same clubs. PLus, this regulation has hurt the manufacturers, who ultimately have a huge impact on the way golf is advertised and played(sponsored).

  • comment  Doug Dowling Says:

    Phil my family started investing in callaway when it was privatly held. I could not agree w/ you more this is not the time to divert money from company earnings to allow the usga to determine what golf clubs should be allowed thanks for your integrity as the national spokesperson for callaway. Doug

  • comment  Ron Hermansen Says:

    Everyone knows Scott McCarron is a jackass. Does anybody really care what this average golfer has to say anyway? Go back to the hole you crawled out of Scott and leave the best golfer in the world alone.

  • If Scott is so concerned about the “Spirit Of The Game” why doesn’t he quit using the long putter?


  • comment  Barbara Says:

    I think everyone just needs to leave the man alone. He is a GREAT golfer and great man. Could respectfully watch him play an awesome round of golf all day anyday!! You go Phil!!!

  • comment  Wayne Says:

    “Within the spirit of the GAME!” Give me a break, would not Bobby Jones have used CAD tailoring of his clubs, super slo-mo research and corrections of his swing, technically superior metals or carbon fiber technology; or should all of golf remained exactly as authorized by the USGA and R&A in 1952? Is the arbitrary dismissal of a club perceived advantageous for stronger hitters in the rough over shorter players in the fairway within the spirit of the game? Yes, perceived, as if every person could use square grooves to stop a shot or place backspin upon said shot out of the rough. I suppose Phil or anyone else for that matter never made bogey using square grooved clubs? Or is every improvement of golfs big hitters to be retarded in order to allow golfs not so big hitters an opportunity to remain equal? I presuppose then, that 300 pound linemen are to be outlawed in professional football in order to allow those with superior blocking technique an equal chance at playing at the professional level regardless of their size? Ridiculous you say. So is any question as to cheating, or spirit of the law. Golf balls to golf clubs have been scientifically aided until the game has allowed 150 pound, 20 year old’s to hit 340 yard drives. The idea of square grooves helping a player over another is without merit as all were and are allowed equal access to such technology. But then, without rule changes, Callaway and Taylor Made couldn’t have forced golfers around the world shell out another thousand dollars for a new set of irons.

  • comment  William McMaster Says:

    My question is what is the relationship between Mickelson and KPMG? I notice he always wears the KMPG caps. Are they just sponcering him?

    Many thanks,

  • Leave the man alone. He has more class than 90% of the golfers on tour. If he likes the wedge and it’s still legal, where’s the problem? Go pick on Obama or Bin Ladin.

  • Give me a break… Why in the world would an “average” tour player like McCarron accuse a world-class, borderline legend like Phil? He didn’t break any rules… he played a club that was deemed legal. End of story as far as I am concerned.

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