Brooks Koepka says that more equipment testing would be ‘good for the game’ to help players conform to the rules after driver testing drama at The Open
Driver testing was one of the biggest topics of discussion to come out of the Open Championship last week following Xander Schauffele’s ‘run in’ with the R&A, where they tested 30 random drivers for the CT limit.
After his was one of those to fail – and the only one publicly to be known – he argued that only testing 30 drivers was unfair, given that the rest of the field could also have non-conforming clubs.
“I would gladly give up my driver if it’s not conforming,” he had said. “But there’s still 130 other players in the field that potentially have a nonconforming driver, as well. What’s the fair thing to do? Just test the whole field. It’s plain and simple”
Since the fall-out of Schauffele’s comments, the idea that driver testing in general should be more thorough – and at more events than just The Open – has been brought about in to the fore, and World No.1 Brooks Koepka is fully supportive of the idea.
According to Koepka, more testing at random events during the year is one he welcomes as he believes it could help the game.
“The more testing the better,” Koepka said during his press conference at the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational this week. “It’s like anything. Drug testing, driver testing, anything. Test as much as you want you’ll figure out where rules are broken, where rules aren’t and who’s broken them.
“I don’t see any problem with it. It would be good for the game.
“You see guys are switching drivers almost every other other week, you never know if you can find one after hitting it a few times if it’s hot it might be over, you never know. I see no problem with it, it’s a great idea just to add it a couple of random times throughout the year.”
Bryson DeChambeau also welcomed the idea, but said that it should happen to each winner after they finish the tournament. And he also had a radical suggestion for what the punishment should be if the club failed.
“I think we should be tested after every win, or whoever finishes in the top 5 should be tested,” DeChambeau told GOLF.com. “It’s like Nascar. If you win with an illegal driver or something else that’s [non-conforming], I would say don’t take the tournament away, because how is the player supposed to know when he was given the driver in good faith. Maybe it did get hotter over the course of hitting it 500 times, or they have a different way of measuring. There’s a bunch of discrepancies in there.
“If you did play a driver that was illegal, you take some FedEx Cup points away. So you make your money and win, that’s great, but you lose half the points you made. It’s not like you should have the trophy taken away. That’s one way to deal with it. You putted well, you chipped well. But I think there needs to be some repercussions from using something that’s not under the conformance rules. If they want to challenge the ruling, they can go do some tests to see if it was truly over.”
As for whose responsibility it is to make sure the drivers are conforming to the rules? Justin Thomas believes the onus is on the manufacturers – something his team at Titelist did before the Open, which resulted in him switching out his driver a couple of weeks in advance.
“I had used that driver for a while,” Thomas said of the one he switched out before the Scottish Open after his monthly driver inspection indicated it was getting close to failing.
“Most importantly, not for it failing a test, but it’s like it’s going to crack any week. So he brought another head for that week. He’s like, ‘Especially next week [at the Open Championship] they’re going to do testing, but you need to change, this is getting close.’ So I changed because I can’t be using an illegal driver.”
“It’s not like us as players, unless we have it tested and know that [the face is hot] and continue to use it, we don’t know that unless they get tested. So I think that’s on the manufacturer to make sure they are tested and that they are conforming, because it’s not fair to the rest of the field if guys are using [a non-conforming driver] and some aren’t.