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Pope Of Slope


Golf World Business, January 7, 2002
By Peter McCleery

Dean Knuth, who served as an employee of the U.S. Golf Association for 16 years until 1997, has had his voluntary service on USGA committees severed.

Known as the "Pope of Slope" for his involvement in developing the USGA's course rating and Slope Rating systems while serving as senior director of handicapping, GHIN and the Green Section, Knuth traces the move to his disagreement with USGA officials on some matters. Knuth authored a column for Golf World last year critical of the USGA's decision to disallow posting of scores with nonconforming equipment. "I will miss my involvement with the USGA, but I am proud to be an R&A member and believe that their approach to limiting driver distance has been much more valid than the USGA's," Knuth told Golf World Business. "I believe the USGA should be making rules based foremost on the amateur golfers of America who need all the distance they can get, rather than basing its rules on a relatively few long drivers on the PGA Tour." Marty Parkes, senior director of communications for the USGA, acknowledged that Knuth had clashed with Reed Mackenzie, incoming USGA president, who served as chairman of the rules and handicapping committees in 2001.

"I know there were letters back and forth between them on this issue," said Parkes. "We do rotate people on and off our committees every two years to give opportunities to others. But I think it's fair to say when appointments like this come up a variety of factors are considered and one of them is the support that people have shown toward the association policies. Dean's nonsupport on those issues did not help his cause to be reappointed."

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