Sources: Player Advisory Council opposes ban
TUCSON, Ariz. – Opposition to the proposed ban on the anchored stroke surfaced Monday night in two key meetings on the PGA Tour.
According to a source, more than 80 percent of participants on a Player Advisory Council conference call voiced a position against the recommendation by the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A to ban the stroke associated with long and belly putters. Golf's governing bodies have called for the ban to take effect with the next printing of the Rules of Golf, in 2016.
Members of the Tour's Policy Board hold similar views, according to a PGA Tour source close to the discussions. A letter is being drafted to be delivered to the USGA, likely this week and before the 90-day comment period ends Feb. 28.
With the four player representatives on the board – Jim Furyk, Harrison Frazar, Paul Goydos and Steve Stricker – opposed to a ban on anchoring and the PAC also opposing a ban, the letter will express those sentiments but leave the door open for compromise.
The PGA Tour and commissioner Tim Finchem have provided no public guidance regarding the proposed ban since the USGA announced the proposed rules change Nov. 28. At a news conference in San Diego during the Farmers Insurance Open in January, Finchem mentioned the possibility of two sets of rules: one for the game's touring professionals and elite amateurs, another for recreational players.
The idea for different rules, or bifurcation, is gaining momentum, according to players involved in both meetings. However, Finchem and the PGA Tour would prefer to maintain a uniform Rules of Golf.
The PGA of America also is drafting a stronger response against the proposed ban than the one it delivered on behalf of its 27,000 club professionals in December.
According to sources familiar with the discussions, the PGA's response will be similar to the Tour's and ultimately will show how the two organizations are aligned on the issue of anchoring.
Once the comment period has expired, it will be up to the USGA and R&A to decided whether a ban on anchoring is worth a potential schism in golf: the PGA Tour playing by its own rules and millions of recreational golfers ignoring the Rules of Golf.