Anchored putting decision due
A final resolution to golf's anchored putting issue will be announced at a Tuesday morning news conference conducted jointly by the United States Golf Association and the R&A.
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There's no shortage of anchor ban opinions, but one that doesn't fly? The belief that golfers would quit if not allowed to anchor their putters, writes Bob Harig. Story
The two rules-making bodies had promised a final decision sometime this spring after a 90-day comment period ended on Feb. 28.
That period saw plenty of back-and-forth among various players and golf entities after the USGA and R&A announced a proposed ban to anchored putting strokes on Nov. 28, 2012. If they go forward, the ban would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016.
The PGA Tour and the PGA of America -- which runs the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship -- came out against the ban, while the European Tour, LPGA Tour and other golf organizations have said they are in favor of going forward with the proposal. The USGA administers the U.S. Open, while the R&A runs the Open Championship, which puts those who run the various majors at odds.
Masters champion Adam Scott became the first player to win a major championship using a long putter, while Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (2012 Open Championship) have recently won majors using a belly putter, which is anchored into the stomach.
SportsNation: Are belly putters unfair?
The PGA Tour says it opposes the proposed ban on anchoring clubs. Do belly putters give golfers an unfair advantage?
"One of the most fundamental things about the game of golf is we believe the player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely," said Mike Davis, the executive director of the United States Golf Association, at the time the proposal was announced. "We think this is integral to the traditions of the game. Golf is a game of skill and challenge, and we think that is an important part of it.
"The player's challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club."
The PGA of America has countered that such a ban could hurt grow-the-game efforts, while PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem came out against the ban, even though just a small percentage, roughly 15 percent, of PGA Tour players use an anchored stroke. Masters chairman Billy Payne said in May that he simply hoped golf would be played with one set of rules.
If the ban does go forward, Finchem and the PGA Tour would then have a decision to make: Do they institute their own rules that would allow anchoring? That would go against the Rules of Golf -- something the tour has never done.
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