Mickelson is bending groove rules by using old wedge, says Westwood
DOHA, Qatar - European No. 1 Lee Westwood believes Phil Mickelson is "bending" the rules by using a controversial 20-year-old wedge, but defended the American's right amid accusations of cheating.
World No. 2 Mickelson opened his PGA Tour campaign at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego this week with a Ping Eye-2 wedge in his bag after exploiting a loophole in new equipment regulations governing grooves.
The club features U-shaped grooves banned by golf's lawmakers in favour of a more 'V' shape, but a 1993 U.S. lawsuit means Ping wedges manufactured before 1990 are technically exempt.
Mickelson is the most high-profile player to use the clubs and PGA Tour players' committee member and fellow professional Scott McCarron has branded the move as "cheating."
"It's a very strong word to use, cheating," said Westwood, who has used Ping clubs for almost 23 years. "I think it's not breaking the rules, but it's bending them."
"It wouldn't be my choice to use them, but it's obviously not against the rules or else he wouldn't do it," he added. "I could do it more than anybody else because I've got thousands of Ping wedges. I have the opportunity to do it and I don't."
Paul Casey, who shares the Commercialbank Qatar Masters after 54 holes, insisted he had "no issue with it whatsoever" after learning Mickelson was using the wedge.
"Knowing Phil, he would be the player on tour to go out and calculate exactly how much extra spin he was getting," he added. "If anybody was to know, he would."
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