Monty could go for Callaway's new driver

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The USGA didn't waste any time reaching a conclusion that Callaway Golf's new ERC driver went over the limits in spring-like effect. That's not a problem - yet.

The driver, which has an ultra-thin face and is billed as Callaway's "hottest driver ever," is being marketed exclusively in Japan. Thus it falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal and Ancient, which has not certified a test to measure the spring-like effect.

But Golf World magazine reported today that the R and A might try to decide whether the ERC is conforming.

"We recognise that we need to make a decision as soon as possible, to be fair to everyone involved," said David Rickman, a rules official with the R and A.

What could force the hand is the Ballesteros Trophy this week in England. Callaway officials say Colin Montgomerie has been testing the new driver for about a month and might put it into play in the inaugural - and unofficial - tournament.

He wouldn't be the first. Michael Campbell used the ERC - named after company founder Ely Reeves Callaway - in the Australasian Tour Championship two weeks ago.

The USGA governs the United States and Mexico, while the R and A is responsible for the rest of the world.

The USGA asked last month if it could test an ERC driver, and Callaway sent one with an 11-degree loft. Callaway spokesman Larry Dorman said the club was mailed on a Monday, and the verdict was returned a week later.

"Nobody could recall getting anything back from the USGA that quickly," Dorman said.

The driver, which retails for about $1,000, is sold exclusively in Japan to compete with other "hot" drivers on the market. But it was only a matter of time before it reached tournament players outside USGA jurisdictions.

Is a lawsuit against the USGA only a matter of time?

"We haven't reached that position yet," Callaway said today. "And I hope we don't have to."