It was failure to pass the U.S. Golf Association's "symmetry" test that caused the recent removal of the popular Titleist Tour 384 from the list of USGA-approved balls.
This particular Titleist, with 384 dimples, used by Hal Sutton, Larry Nelson and Seve Ballesteros to win the three major U.S. titles this year, will not be allowed in PGA,- LPGA- and USGA-sanctioned events until at least October, when the next testing is planned.
According to the USGA, the ball violates Rule 2-3: "The ball shall be designed and manufactured to perform in general as if it were spherically symmetrical." Test balls hit a by a mechanical driving machine showed inconsistencies in flight.
"The pattern of dimples on one-half of the golf ball is not identical to the pattern of dimples on the other half," said Michael Dann, USGA press relations assistant. That could give a golfer an unfair advantage. Conceivably, a golfer could place his ball on the tee in such a way as to make it bore into the wind better and stay airborne longer.
According to Jack Nicklaus, who spoke on the subject at the PGA last week, the Titleist 384's aerodynamics also make it travel 20 yards beyond others. Nicklaus said if the ball were allowed, it would make many golf courses obsolete.
The Worsham Memorial, which has lost quality in its fields because golfers are tending to return to college earlier and earlier, has tried to reverse that trend by moving up the event from late August; this year, it will be Monday through Thursday. The event, held at Bethesda since Arnold Palmer won it 33 years ago, has been switched to Prince Georges. The younger age groups will play at Germantown . . . Mike Wynn of Evergreen, back from an appearance in the PGA, will defend his championship in the Middle Atlantic PGA Championship Monday through Wednesday at scenic Golden Horseshoe in Williamsburg. The Robert Trent Jones layout has superb finishing holes and some picturesque par-3s, including the 16th, with an island green. . . . Amy Geithner of Fairfax, who set the women's course record (69) at Congressional's Gold course in winning the Payne Cup last week, takes over Sept. 1 as women's golf coach at Wake Forest, replacing 71-year-old Marge Crisp . . . There were four Dunns in the recent South Atlantic Junior. Kevin Dunn beat older brother Tim Dunn, and then Kevin lost to Tom Dunn (no relation). Another Dunn, Mike, also qualified. John Mackey of Lakewood won it . . . Another Lakewood golfer, Mike Watson, won the 15-and-under division of the Florida Junior Invitational recently . . . Milton Weinstein made a hole in one on the fourth hole recently in the Indian Spring member-guest tournament. He was among those who decided before the tournament that a new automobile would be given away be for a hole in one--but on the 17th hole, not the fourth . . . the Middle Atlantic PGA Assistants Championship at Shannon Green (Aug. 30-31) once again will have a purse in excess of $20,000, with the winner to receive about $1,500. Fred Gibson is defending champion . . . More than $20,000 in prizes, including a trip to London, will go to the player who shoots closest to the pin on Chantilly's 140-yard, par-3 14th hole in the WNVC Channel 56 tournament, Sept. 12. Entry fee is $250.