PGA Tour reveals new driver testing policy for 2019-20 season

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The PGA Tour have revealed that they are introducing a new policy to test out players' drivers during the 2019-2020 season

Starting next week at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, the PGA Tour will introduce a new driver testing policy for the 2019-20 season. 

Driver testing has been something done on the PGA Tour since 2014 throughout the season on new clubs, but after Xander Schauffele made headlines for his driver failing the random testing at Royal Portrush, there is set to be a change in the policy. 

Schauffele, who was one of 30 players randomly selected for testing at The Open, was not supposed to be identified, and he spoke out openly about his frustrations. He not only argued that to make it fair they should test the whole field, but also was frustrated that his name had been leaked. 

After the fall-out between Schauffele and the R&A, World No.1 Brooks Koepka said he would welcome more frequent testing throughout the year, which is exactly what is now going to happen.

In a memo issued to players and manufacturers, the PGA Tour stated that there will be two informational weeks (see below), followed by random testing throughout the season at PGA Tour events. Those tests, which will continue to measure the CT limit, will last 15 minutes, and the results will only be made known to the player and an appointed manufacturer representative. 

There will a traffic light category system in place in regard to the results of the testing. Green means the club is conforming; Yellow means the club is conforming and can be used but is within the USGA Published tolerance and will likely fail in subsequent testing; Red means the club is damaged in to a non-conforming state, and the club will be returned to the manufacturer instead of the player. 

“Recently, we have become aware that drivers in play on the PGA Tour may be exhibiting a trait whereby through normal use, the club face ‘creeps’ beyond the allowed CT limit under the Rules, despite having conformed to the CT limit while new,” the Tour’s memo stated.

“When such a situation occurs, in accordance with the USGA’s Notice to Manufacturers dated October 11, 2017, the club is deemed to have become damaged into a non-conforming state and may no longer be used in competition.

"Given this phenomenon beginning with the 2019-20 season the PGA Tour will be implementing an additional component to its driver testing program which will test drivers in play on the PGA Tour. The program, which will be supported by the USGA Equipment standards staff, will work as follows.

"We will host two informational weeks where the USGA Equipment Standards staff will demonstrate the testing procedure and work with manufacturer representative on site to players on a voluntary first-come first-served basis. These sessions will be hosted Monday to Wedneday at A mILITARY tRIBUTE at the Greenbrier (Sep 9-11, 2019) and the Farmers Insurance Open (Jun 20-22, 2020).

"To assist with the testing process, each manufacturer who has driver heads in play on the PGA Tour will appoint one representative who will be the on-site contact when testing in occurring. To maintain confidentiality, the representative and the player will be the only people who are notified of the result of the test

"At various times throughout the season, and on an unannounced basis, testing will occur at PGA TOUR events. The testing will occur on non-competition days when manufacturer representatives are on-site. If a player has been selected, the player will be notified by a PGA Tour rules official when he arrives at the course and will be asked to provide the driver(s) that they player intends to use in play for that event. The clubs will be taken to testing location, tested, and returned to the player as soon as possible. Each test will take approximately 15 minutes, be conducted by a member of the USGA Equipment Standards staff and be performed on a pendulum device in accordance with published USGA test protocols."