A brouhaha is brewing among professional golfers.
Joining the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, which coordinates golf rules outside of North America, the United States Golf Association has ruled that using Ping Eye 2 wedges, clubs with specially cut grooves that improve golfers' play - don't ask me how, I'm no golfer - would no longer be permitted on the PGA Tour starting this year.
All well and good. Equipment specifications are a routine part of golf's rules. Because of a preexisting lawsuit, however, wedges made before 1990 were exempted from the new rule. Golfer Phil Mickelson, among others, has used a pre-1990 club for years, and initially planned to continue to do so, since it remained legal. After an outcry from other players, however, he decided not to use it until the rules are standardized, one way or the other.
Joe Read, a reader in Anaheim, Calif., wonders if the spirit of the regulation is as important as the letter of the law: Is it wrong for golfers to use pre-1990 clubs that may not be available to other golfers? Or is all fair as long as the rules are not violated?
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Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.
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