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November 28, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Collins

Michael Collins
  (12:00 PM)

Welcome to the fastest hour in golf!So the ruling is in, no more anchoring putters, BUT Matt Kuchar's style of running the shaft up the forearm is ok, even if you use the claw grip to hold it in place.Wanna to hear your thoughts...BRING IT!!

Chris (Chicago)

Michael - given the ruling today, do you feel Tiger influenced decisions at all? He is smart enough to know he has pull and was obviously against it.

Michael Collins
  (12:02 PM)

I honestly don't think Tiger by himself influenced the decision. I think the fact that so many majors were won in the past few years using that style scared the R&A and USGA

Bob (Seattle)

the anchoring ban is ridiculous. It's a bunch of old men complaining that things aren't the way they were when they grew up. The Kuchar exception is horrid. He must be their type of guy to say that anchoring against a forearm isn't anchoring against a body part.

Michael Collins
  (12:05 PM)

I honestly believe they put that "loophole" there on purpose, especially if you look at the picture of using the claw grip to secure it to your forearm. It's a blatant contradiction to what Mike Davis said, "We don't want to create a stable point..."So what the heck is that doing?Egg, I'd like to introduce you to face.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

I'm just a casual fan of the game, but I'm glad about the new rule to ban those long putters. It's the equivalent of using gloves with sticky residue to catch a football and it just "looks" like cheating when you watch it. I ask myself "Are these guys so bad at putting that they get to use a device that takes away the skill needed to steady a putter? Without getting in to all the science, it just looks abnormal and looks like a cheap way to play golf to this casual fan.

Michael Collins
  (12:08 PM)

Fair enough that it looks strange. But what would golf equipment look like today to Old Tom Morris? Would he approve? Doubt it. People hide behind the vail of "preserving the game", no you're just picking and choosing what you like and don't like.

Daniel (Arkansas)

I don't like people using belly putters, however there are far bigger problems in golf than this, and its been allowed for so long why fight it now.

Erik (Toledo)

I honestly dont think that anchoring your putter makes that big of a difference. I have been using a broomstick for 2 years now, I switched to it my senior year of college because I found I set up more square. But I can still make just as bad of a stroke with that as I can a short one. Ask Adam Scott at the British, you cant tell me he didnt pull that putt on 18 for the tie...

Michael Collins
  (12:10 PM)

And that's always where everyone who says it takes the nerves out of putting loose the argument with that point. Berhard Langer also misses plenty of putts with his long putter too.

John (SC)

1. Outrageous for anchoring to be allowed for so long, and then to have people who have done it for years suddenly be forced to change. Especially considering there are bigger issues to address in golf.2. Think long (broomstick) putters like Carl and Tim will just move the left hand away from the chest a bit? Do you think that will negatively affect their performance? It seems like they can make a tiny adjustment and be legal.

Ed (Long Island)

Even though it will be legal to anchor the putter through 2015, will there now be a stigma with a pro who wins a major or even a tournament using it from this point forward?

Michael Collins
  (12:10 PM)

Great point!

LB (Toronto)

What's the deal with so-called golf experts/analysts completely missing the point of the ban? Three of the past five major champions have won with anchored putters. When the nerves get raw, eliminating part of the putting stroke from the equation is a distinct advantage that changes a fundamental of the game. What is it that the naysayers of the ban don't understand that the rest of us do?

Michael Collins
  (12:14 PM)

Exactly what part of the nerves are eliminated? Because the conference call I was just on, the head of the R&A said they have no scientific evidence of that being the case. Which means the "rest of us" are just pulling that stat from... anyway. The anchored putter's been around for almost 30 years, wouldn't the law of averages determine that at some point guys would win majors with them?

Erik (Toledo)

Well I guess I only have 3 more years to make my tour push now...

Breadchick (Hotlanta)

Why a "comment from stakeholders" period on this rule change? There was no such comment period on square grooves and it's not like the powers that be in New Jersey or at St. Andrews haven't ready made up their minds.

Michael Collins
  (12:19 PM)

so if I force you to hit a 2 iron and say you're not allowed to use a hybrid or 5 wood, you're ok with that too? The rule is not just for the pros, it affects all golfers. And I do not use an anchored putter just so everyone is clear.

Alex (OH)

So you can keep it against your forearm but not anchor it against your chest/belly? Just trying to clarify.

Michael Collins
  (12:20 PM)

yeah. And Matt Kuchar is the only guy in the top 5 in scoring on the PGA Tour this year using what could be considered an anchoring style.

Alex (OH)

Now that this is done, is anything going to be done equipment-wise? AKA so they guys aren't averaging 350 off the tee in a few years. The whole distance thing is crazy compared to even a few years ago.

Michael Collins
  (12:21 PM)

That would be the 600lb pink gorilla in the room that the R&A and USGA are doing their "See no evil, Hear no evil" monkey pose about.

LB (Toronto)

Why do people keep insisting this is an equipment rule? If it was, it could be changed immediately. It's about skill and nerves, and this type of rule can't be changed until the next window in 2016. Old Tom Morris would spin in his grave if he were alive today to see anchoring of putters. And he'd be swatting the ball with a tennis raquet sized driver.

Michael Collins
  (12:24 PM)

What "people" are saying that? YOU'RE saying it to try and drive home your point. It is not an equipment rule, but it affects equipment.

Andrew (WI)

My personal rule suggestion: Don't allow the putter to touch any part of the body except the arm below the elbow. That way we don't try to define and nitpick over how much the putter is anchored to the wrist.

Michael Collins
  (12:26 PM)

How about the putter may only touch below the wrist. Knockout those freaks that cross hand putt. Those guys are cheaters.I'm joking of course.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I could care less either way, but I find it completely hypocritical that they they ban "anchoring the putter" yet allow these Fisher Price drivers (GIANT heads) because everyone loves the long ball.

Papa Smurf (SLC, Utah)

While the R&A, and USGA are still going to listen to the players who use anchoring putters, do you really think that this will change their minds? I think the second that Keegan won the PGA in 11, they were on their way to banning these types of putters, and since Tiger or ROry do not use these putters, they don't care who they hurt, and how it will afffect the game for the younger generation.

Michael Collins
  (12:27 PM)

Thank goodness that 14 year old who qualified for the Masters will still be able to use his belly putter this April.

Erik (Toledo)

All other clubs have gone through massive changes in the last 50 years. The putters have remained consistent. Club manufacturers finally came up with a way to make it different, and now there is outrage to ban them? Why is the putter kept to a double standard? Why dont we just all go back to hickory shafts and featheries?

Caddy Mike Corrao (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)

I have mixed feelings on this Mike...I understand the proponents of what is a "stroke" which would want to eliminate anchoring...Recreational golfers should be able to do what they want...Ironically, the "hybrid" clubs are actually very similar to 200 year old clubs as far as the clubhead shape itself

Michael Collins
  (12:29 PM)

Mike I will tell you that I have the same torn feelings as you. But I am a firm believer that if it wasn't a problem when the club was first used and approved then why hit the panic button now that majors have been won using them.And the biggest question remains, does banning them help grow the game?

LB (Toronto)

Just for the record, straight from the R&A itself, you can look it up: "Our focus is on the essential character of the golf stroke. We believe that freely swinging the entire club is integral to making golf an enjoyable game of skill and challenge. Our judgment is that anchoring the club is inconsistent with the fundamental nature of the swing and, at least for some players or in some conditions or situations, may alter the challenge of making a stroke because of the restriction of the end of the club and the extra support and stability provided for the swing." What do they know, right? So look out, all you weekend hackers, the daily fee course marshall is coming for you and your anchored putter!!

Michael Collins
  (12:33 PM)

But we're leaving a loophole in there (Matt Kuchar, who HASN'T won a major).Protect and grow the game.Are you doing that or are you alienating a few?

Jake (Wash, D.C.)

My friend and I, two huge fans of golf, have been hoping for this ban for the past year. And we're young guys, so you can't say we're just trying to hold onto the past, or something like that.Anchoring the putter takes SOME skill out of putting, there is no denying that. And part of the joy of watching professional golf is seeing guys do what so few others can do.So to answer your question from your video rant, yes, I do think the ban helps to protect and GROW the game, because I think the belly putters were cheapening it and threatening to damage the enjoyment from the fans' perspective.Even though you're against the ban, I still love you Mr. Collins

Michael Collins
  (12:34 PM)

I appreciate you and your opinion Jake. Thank you.

Erik (Toledo)

In my opinion, the putter really hasnt changed much in the last 50 years when they started coming out with mallets. All other clubs have. When they came out with metal clubheads, there wasnt any talk to ban them? So why when a new putter design comes out there is a need to ban those? Why arent hybrids banned? Arent they easier to hit too?

Michael Collins
  (12:36 PM)

To speak to LB's point in Toronto, it's not an equipment rule. Unfortunately by leaving a loophole, it will become one.

Nick (Kansas)

Kuchar style does not anchor from a fixed point, why should that be illegal? its just an extension

Michael Collins
  (12:37 PM)

Yes it does. One of the pictures shows using the "claw grip" to hold the extension in place on the forearm thereby taking the "free swinging" potential out. In effect directly contradicting what they said they are trying to prevent.

Michael Collins
  (12:39 PM)

Believe me when I tell you, if Matt Kuchar's style of putting had won a couple majors in the last few years it would have been banned as well.

Chris (Chicago)

Which professional using the long putter may see their career be derailed? I know Bernhard on the Champions is in trouble as is Tim Clark - thinking more about the younger generation...

Michael Collins
  (12:40 PM)

Carl Pettersson definitely, and Keegan Bradley says he hasn't even practiced with one and won't until he absolutely has to. Webb has at least been messing with a short putter just in case this happened.

Jeff (Hoboken)

Michael, what's more crucial to winning on the Tour: putting or proximity to the hole with iron play? Putting seems to be the most dissected statistically, but I always feel like iron play decides events.

Michael Collins
  (12:42 PM)

There's a reason the saying came about, "Drive for show..."Putting is the great equalizer.

Matt (Chicago)

Michael - Love the chats. I've never used an anchored putter, nor do I plan to in the near future. However, I don't understand why anyone is against bifurication. Thoughts?

Michael Collins
  (12:44 PM)

Because both the R&A and USGA don't want two sets of rules and they see amateurs follow what pros do. Don't want two sets of rules. Even though in this case it may be justified.

Doug (Silver Creek, GA)

I know all the talk today is about the belly putters and anchoring, but let's discuss the 800 lb gorilla in the room- the BALL. Do you see a Tour-spec ball in the future, leaving the nuked sphere we knock around to the recreational duffers? Or are the R&A and USGA going to continue to act like ostriches?

Michael Collins
  (12:45 PM)

What's that? I couldn't hear you... my head was in the sand.Baahaha

Caddy Mike Corrao (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)

Mike, I guess that confirms that The Players here is definitely not 5th major(re:Kutcher)...which I agree with by the way.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

Michael Collins, it just looks cheap. That's the point several of us are trying to make. It just looks like guys trying to gain a cheap edge. I hate watching golf with these putters; actually, I like watching and rooting for them to do poorly!

Michael Collins
  (12:48 PM)

I don't like the way some guys dress. Does that mean I need them to wear only what I like?The beauty of the game is that it doesn't have to be done on way with one set of equipment, clothing, and swings.And I don't care what I look like... as long as I'm winning!

Showtime (Chicago)

Any legal options for the "anchoring" pros to challenge the ruling?

Michael Collins
  (12:49 PM)

Great question and I guarantee there are more than a few golfing attorneys on a conference call right now working that out.

Doug (Silver Creek, GA)

Alright Mike, I deserved the sarcasm. Serious question- what's the biggest "problem" in the game equipment-wise? Anchored putters, oversize woods, hybrids, game-improvement irons, or the ball?

Michael Collins
  (12:52 PM)

It's the ball. With the driver being not too far behind. But the ball is where everyone knows is making the game into something that the founders didn't foresee and that's what the R&A and USGA are supposed to protect.

LB (Toronto)

Michael, just wanted to say that I've never participated in these things before chiefly because I've always assumed that those disagreeing with the moderator would be immediately and rudely dismissed and subsequently ignored. So kudos to you for considering, responding, staying informed and continuing to keep an open mind. For what it's worth to you, respect for that!

Michael Collins
  (12:53 PM)

That means more to me than you know. In a lot of these I get called horrific things if I disagree so props to ya for the respect. I afford you the same tenfold my friend. Thanks.

Nick (Kansas)

Should the Kuchar style with the claw grip to hold putter into place be illegal, but holding the club as Kuchar actually does (no claw) be legal? your thoughts.

Michael Collins
  (12:54 PM)

Absolutely not. It creates that "stable point" the rule is supposed to prevent.

Bryan (Springdale, AR)

When will golfers be able to use bumpers to help the ball towards the hole like bowlers do?

Michael Collins
  (12:54 PM)

Pro Putt-Putt baby!

Tim (SF)

Look...the rules of golf are a joke as it is. 215 pages of esoteric cornercase nonsense. And we (golfers) all still play by the rules. Here is just another rule about how you play the game by the rules. So play by it. It isnt about 'fair rule' or 'unfair rule'...golf is a game simply played 'by the rules.' Always has been. Always will be. It's part of the 'charm', if that is the word. Guys Dairy Queen themselves for screwing up...heck, until a year ago, if your ball moved on the green because of the wind it was your fault. This is just another rule. It doesn't affect one person...it affects everyone who plays by the rules.

Michael Collins
  (12:56 PM)

Very true, bbut this rule does only affect a few. And could make people leave the game who would have stayed (I mean amateurs) which is the opposite affect they were going for. It's why I asked what happens if you're wrong during the press conference.

Mark (Tennessee)

I am confused. Are they banning belly putters all together or just the anchoring of them?

Michael Collins
  (12:57 PM)

anchoring of them. NO ban on any equipment.

Michael Collins
  (12:58 PM)

of course, it's not a belly putter if it ain't touching your belly is it?!Not saying, just saying

Caddy Mike Corrao (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)

Mike, I'm going to cover Phil/Amy Mickelson's Birdies for the Brave Charity Event Friday/Saturday @ Sawgrass.Many Champions Tour Players and Jack will be there.It will be interesting to get their opinion and I'd also venture to say that ANYTHING that helps a soldier play should and will be allowed...For the rest of us, golf is just a game

Michael Collins
  (12:58 PM)

I'll see you there. I'll be the one with the ESPN mic flag and tiny little camera everyone makes fun of!

Chris (Chicago)

Why wait 3 entire golf seasons? Nothing takes that long to implement... will that be changed?

Michael Collins
  (12:59 PM)

No, the rules run in four year cycles so 2016 is the earliest it can be implemented.

Travis (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nowhere else on the golf course, nor with any other club, nor with any other swing are you permitted to anchor the club so why would people believe it was acceptable with the putter? Just because there was no specific rule related to anchoring of the putter, either for or against, doesn't change the fact that it's obviously against the spirit of the rules. I don't understand the backlash.

Michael Collins
  (1:01 PM)

Backlash comes from the fact that it wasn't a problem for almost 30 years but now that guys have won majors with them it's an issue. Yet nothing is being done about the golf ball.It's like when they changed the groove rule. Has it changed scoring around the greens or from the rough? No. but it took the focus away from the true issue of the out of control distance.

Bob (Seattle)

Any chance that the PGA and LPGA ignore the anchoring rule and belly/long putters are only banned at USGA tournaments?

Michael Collins
  (1:02 PM)

Nope, they're followers.

Tom (L.A.)

I could care less if pros anchor the putters. The PGA Tour is entertainment. Birdies and eagles are entertaining. Rules changes like this just punish the millions of the rest of us that play. Like that grooves rule that made it so we can't get those super spinny wedges anymore. But it sure changed all the scores on the Tour, right?

Michael Collins
  (1:03 PM)

EXACTLY

Tim (SF)

Sorry, I was waiting for Ben Crane and Kevin Na to hole out on #4...what did I miss? Did something happen today in the world of golf? (Maybe there are bigger fish to fry?)

Michael Collins
  (1:04 PM)

Now THAT'S funny!!

James (Tyngsboro, MA)

Other than pros and USGA, R&A tournaments, will long putters be allowed? Could the Masters for example keep the long putter legal at their tournament?

Michael Collins
  (1:05 PM)

It would set a very dangerous precedent if a tournament like the Masters came up with their own rules of play. I just don't see it happening

Michael Collins
  (1:07 PM)

Wow! We could go for another hour easy but I have a tee time in 25 minutes (I live in FL... stop hating... I saw that!)Thanks for all the time and great questions and opinions!You can always reach me on Twitter @ESPNCaddie or email me ESPNCaddie@gmail.com. Don't be surprised when I write back!!Thanks all.