The PGA Tour is starting to test drivers, to make sure that the clubs fall within the standards set by the United States Golf Federation. The first test are taking place at this week's Mercedes Championships in Hawaii, and the first driver tested was the one belonging to Tiger Woods. That seems fitting, as it was Woods who set off a firestorm last summer when he said that he thought that some players on tour were using "hot drivers," that is, drivers which impart more force to the ball through a trampoline-like action than allowed by the rules. Woods is on the record saying that he thinks the testing should be mandatory, but it isn't.

Instead, it's voluntary program, where players can submit their own equipment for testing. There is apparently an exception where if one player questions the legality of another player's driver, it will be tested, which could lead to some ugly gamesmanship.

Golf is a sport which has long prided itself on honor and a self-policing attitude toward the rules of the game. But the equipment revolution that has transformed the game makes some of those attitudes impossible to sustain. There's no way to look at a driver and tell if it's legal. These tests are a step in the right direction, but I think they should be, and soon will be, mandatory.

AuthorMark McClusky