Golf: January 30, 2007

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If the United States Golf Association does announce a crackdown on equipment in the next few years, it probably will not have anything to do with drivers or hopped-up golf balls. The USGA is more likely to get into grooves. The association's test center is studying the grooves on irons and how they have changed the game, at least for pros. -- Newsday

If Tiger Woods is intent on taking the streak as far as it can possibly go, logic screams out for him to skip Riviera Country Club. The home of the Nissan is a place that has vexed Woods like no other. He is winless in nine starts as a professional at the Los Angeles stop on tour. If that's what Woods decides to do, what would he say to those who suggest he's protecting the streak? "People can say whatever they want," Woods said. "That's their opinion. They are entitled to it." -- Houston Chronicle

Charles Howell III couldn't walk away from his Buick Invitational performance heartbroken. One month into the inaugural FedEx Cup season, Howell is No. 1 in the points standings, No. 2 on the money list and - most importantly for his primary quest to qualify for a sixth consecutive Masters - No. 43 in the world rankings. He has cut his world ranking in half in three weeks. -- Augusta Chronicle

Retief Goosen's victory in the Qatar Masters on Sunday came shortly after he turned to Scottish coach Gregor Jamieson for help. Until the tail end of last year when he approached Jamieson, he had been without a coach for nine years, preferring to look after himself. Goosen, who had been dismayed at the number of approach shots that were ending up in the 50ft range, and Jamieson decided to get back to basics and concentrate on setup, posture and alignment. -- Scottish Herald

England's Justin Rose believes he is finally set for a breakthrough season in the US after three years of "reconnaissance" on the PGA Tour. The man himself is in no doubt as to why his game has clicked into place - the positive influence of his new coach Nick Bradley and his increasing confidence on the American tour. -- BBC Sport

The players on the Champions Tour were glad to say a farewell aloha to Fred Funk as he goes back to the PGA Tour. Funk, who missed the cut at the Sony Open, plans to play three more Champions Tour events this year and 26 more on the PGA Tour. His next tournament will be the PGA Tour's FBR Open this week in Phoenix. --

Phil Mickelson intends to make regular trips back to Georgia in September for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mickelson won there in 2000, but has skipped the past two years to spend more time with his family. -- Augusta Chronicle