USGA's Technical Director Rugge to Retire

Dick Rugge, the Technical Director for the United States Golf Association, has announced he'll retire - effective February 2, 2013 - after nearly 13 years in the position.

The 64-year-old Rugge, who worked at TaylorMade Golf before joining the USGA in May 2000, was involved in rules that ranged from restrictions on the size of clubheads to helping develop a portable test to evaluate the spring-like properties of drivers. He also oversaw testing procedures to create an overall distance standard for golf balls.

Perhaps Rugge's most lasting legacy was his improved communications between golf's ruling bodies and equipment manufacturers and players. For instance, when the USGA instituted new restrictions on the effectiveness of grooves, Phil Mickelson was a big critic. Rugge met with Mickelson at the Barclay's Championship to smooth over relations with "Lefty."

"I wanted to talk to Phil and give him a chance to let me have it," Rugge told Golfweek. "I thought it was appropriate to give him a chance to vent."

Rugge acknowledged that during his time as the USGA's equipment guru many rules were created, mainly out of a need to limit the degree that technology affects the spirit of the game.

"The equipment manufacturers have the skills, resources, and motivation to continue to look for new ways to incorporate new technology into their clubs," he said. "Because of their heightened activity and our mission to maintain the challenge of the game, we needed to step up our attention and actions."