Corey Pavin, Greg Owen speak out

Updated: May 21, 2013, 5:24 PM ET
By Randy Jennings | Special to ESPNDallas.com

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Even though Corey Pavin never has used a long putter during a professional career that has spanned three decades, the 53-year-old former Ryder Cup captain came to the defense of those who do.

Pavin, speaking at a Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial news conference on Tuesday, said he really doesn't see anything wrong with the anchored stroke that golf's governing bodies jointly banned earlier in the day.

"I imagine if somebody said to me, I can't use a short putter anymore, and I would have to use a long putter, that would be pretty difficult," Pavin said.

The ban, announced by The Royal & Ancient Golf Club and U.S. Golf Association under Rule 14-1b, will not take effect until 2016.

"I'm glad it wasn't made across the board that they just banned long putters,'' said Pavin, a two-time Colonial champion playing the event for the 30th straight year. "They have been around too long, forever, I guess. The last 30 years. It is a long time to have something legal and then make it illegal.

"I'm not so sure stopping anchoring is that big a deal as far as a change of a rule. I'm not sure it was necessary. But that's the way they went and that's what the rules are now. Well, they are in 2016."

Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson have put together solid PGA Tour careers using the anchoring stroke with long putters for 15 and 16 years, respectively. Both declined comment on the ban Tuesday.

Understandably, both have been critics of the change.

Clark's speech during the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January helped to sway the views of many of the players and executives around the tour.

Pettersson previously hinted at possible legal action if a ban goes into effect.

Clark and Pettersson have an ally in PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who three months ago said it would be a mistake for the USGA and the R&A to adopt the rule.

On Tuesday, the PGA Tour issued a statement in which it acknowledged that the USGA has adopted the rule and that it will now begin a process "to ascertain whether the various provisions of the rule will be implemented in our competitions, and if so, examine the process for implementation.''

Discussions will continue next month within the Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members.

England's Greg Owen, in his seventh year on the PGA Tour, supported Tuesday's decision.

"I think it's the right thing to do,'' said Owen, taking time from a practice session with a short putter. "The only problem, it should have been done 30 years ago.

"There's different points of view, but I can't imagine the guys that designed the game had that kind of a swing (the anchor stroke) in mind. There are rule changes in this game all the time. If they take away the 60-degree wedge, would people complain? They'd just get on with it.''

Owen said he experimented with a long putter for a couple of months before switching back to a conventional model.

"No kid wakes up on Christmas morning to find a new set of golf clubs with a long putter," Owen said. "Guys go to it because it is easier. If you're a good putter, it doesn't matter what you use.''

Added Pavin: "At least one chapter ended. I think there are more chapters to be written.''

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ALSO SEE

ESPN TOP HEADLINES