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There was drama on Tuesday as one of the favourites had a piece of equipment banned from use
Xander Schauffele’s Driver Fails R&A’s Test At The Open
Xander Schauffele contended strongly at The Open last year at Carnoustie, but came a cropper of the new R&A driver tests at Royal Portrush.
The R&A began randomly testing drivers at the 2018 Open, but none of the drivers tested failed last year.
The tests they do are to check the Coefficient of Restitution – the trampoline-like effect the face of the driver puts onto the ball. In particular, the R&A are looking to gain an understanding as to whether this trampoline-like effect can change over time - hence the testing of in-play drivers that are already on the R&A's conforming list.
This brings us back to Schauffele and the American’s Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver was tested on Tuesday and failed.
“It barely missed. So I had a bit of a run-in with the R&A, which wasn't the most fun. So happy that it worked a little better today” said Schauffele after his second round 65 on Friday.
After his driver failed the R&A's test on Tuesday, Schauffele went to work with the Callaway fitting team to find a replacement. “I was doing driver testing up until Wednesday. And then yesterday [Thursday - ed] it wasn't really matching my bag, which was a bummer. I was getting a little upset on the golf course. And today I was testing a little bit on the range again with two different heads. But moved a few weights around and sort of found a good setting.”
At this point it is worth adding that neither Schauffele or Callaway are being accused of any wrong-doing. His 74 in the opening round put him in danger of missing the cut but he responded well in round two to manouevre into contention.
"We offer the testing as a service to players so that they can ensure that their drivers conform,” the R&A said in a statement. “We believe that 30 is a reasonable sample and a practical option for conducting this process in the week of a major championship.”
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“I have a legal driver now and I am happy to see the ball performing like it did today or the driver performing like it did today, so that was very comforting. Like I said it will get better every day. We've still got two more.”
We will wait and see if there is anymore fallout from the testing over the days, but Schauffele will certainly be hoping to put this behind him and to play well over the final two rounds at Portrush.
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Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 being promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014, before becoming Sports Digital Editor for the Sport Vertical within Future in 2022. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including Strategy and Content Planning for the website and social media - Tom also assists the Cycling, Football, Rugby and Marine titles at Future. Tom plays off 16 and lists Augusta National (name drop), Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.
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