The 20-year-old Ping wedges with square-shaped grooves will no longer be allowed on the PGA Tour starting March 29 under an agreement reached Monday with Ping executives.
John Solheim, the chairman and CEO of Ping, said the Phoenix-based company is waiving its right that had kept the PGA Tour from banning Ping Eye2 wedges made before April 1, 1990 that have deeper, wide grooves no longer allowed under new USGA regulations.
Those wedges were allowed through a 1990 settlement from when Ping sued the PGA Tour and U.S. Golf Association. Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, John Daly and Fred Couples were among players who used the Ping wedges. It had become such a divisive issue that Scott McCarron accused Mickelson of "cheating" by using the club.
"John Solheim and Ping had a terrific opportunity to do something very positive and significant for the game of golf, and we very much appreciate his willingness to take this action," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said.
Ping also said it will apply the waiver to the U.S. Open.
The waiver takes effect the week after the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and will apply on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. It will not apply to amateur competitions.
In return for the waiver, Solheim is hopeful equipment companies will have a stronger voice when the USGA makes new rules. The USGA will hold a forum this fall to improve the process of creating equipment regulations.
"I've been consistent in voicing my concerns over the last several years about the challenges of the current rule-making process and the needs to improve it to the benefit of golfers," Solheim said. "I am hopeful this will be a significant first step in realizing this goal. Our goal is to help ensure innovation remains an important part of golf's tradition."
NFLRams sign Fred Robbins
The Rams reached a deal with former Vikings defensive tackle Fred Robbins. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. Robbins is 32 and has played 10 seasons with 116 starts for the Vikings and Giants. He has 28.5 career sacks and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2008.
In other NFL news: Free agent safety Darren Sharper said he had minor arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but is feeling good and planning to play somewhere next season. ... Chad Pennington will be back with the Dolphins for at least one more season. The quarterback signed a one-year deal with the team. ... Receiver Kevin Walter and punter Matt Turk, both unrestricted free agents, have been re-signed by the Texans. ... A person with knowledge of the contract said the Eagles will pay Michael Vick a $1.5 million roster bonus due Tuesday. Paying Vick the bonus doesn't preclude Philadelphia from trading the former Pro Bowl quarterback. Vick is under contract for $5.2 million this year. The Eagles are buying themselves more time -- and possibly a draft pick -- by giving Vick the bonus. ... The Eagles and receiver Jason Avant agreed on a five-year contract. Avant was a restricted free agent. He had a career-best 41 receptions for 587 yards and three touchdowns last season. ... The Panthers have added to their purge of veterans with the release of longtime fullback Brad Hoover. ... The Chiefs re-signed unrestricted free agent receiver Chris Chambers. ... The Raiders released receiver Javon Walker and defensive end Greg Ellis. ... Offensive tackle Cornell Green signed a three-year contract with the Bills. ... The Seahawks traded backup quarterback Seneca Wallace to the Browns in exchange for a 2011 undisclosed draft pick.
McNabb and T.O. back together -- for commercial
Donovan McNabb will be throwing passes to Terrell Owens again.
McNabb and Owens are teaming up on a basketball court instead of a football field in the new season of Spike TV's "Pros vs. Joes." The episode features NFL players that played college basketball against former NBA stars.
McNabb (Syracuse), Owens (Tennessee-Chattanooga) and Antonio Gates (Kent State) will face Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith and Rick Fox.
T.O. helped McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles reach the Super Bowl in 2004, but a feud ended their relationship and Owens was cut midway through the '05 season.
AROUND THE HORN
Iditarod: Canadian Sebastian Schnuelle regained the early lead in the race when he became the first musher to leave the Rainy Pass checkpoint, about 224 miles beyond Anchorage. He rested there only five minutes before heading out on the trail to Rohn. Following him out of Rainy Pass were John Baker and Warren Palfrey.