Anchoring: Reaction from the world of golf

Sergio Garcia talks to the media at a press conference for the BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth in Virginia Water, England.

The USGA and R&A officially announced the ban of the anchored stroke on Tuesday morning, sending plenty of golf's elite players, coaches and equipment manufacturers to Twitter to make a statement.

We'll be monitoring the world's reaction to this decision all day long, as well as gathering reaction on the ground at the Senior PGA, Crowne Plaza Invitational and overseas at Wentworth.

Here is a collection of early reaction:

• • •

Bernhard Langer, two-time Masters winner and current Champions Tour player who has used a long putter since the mid-1990s

It's disappointing . . . very disappointing. It's the same thing I've said for months: I don't know why they couldn't come to the same conclusion 40 years ago that they did today. Why does it take 40 years? Just because we have major winners, that's what it comes down to.

What does this do to you from a competition standpoint?

I don't know . . . it's two years from now . . . I don't know. We'll have to wait to see what the PGA Tour says, and right now, we're all guessing. We'll see what the PGA Tour does. If they make their own rule, then nothing changes. If they don't make another rule, we'll have to adjust. It's been talked about and talked about and it's just disappointing. I just don't understand why it took them 40 years to come to their conclusion. Did they say why it took them 40 years?

• • •

Tim Mickelson, coach, Arizona State University

Sad day for the growth of golf. No matter where you stand on the ban, this doesn't help grow the game.

• • •

Greg Norman, PGA Tour legend

In response to a post by Gary Player on the social-media site Twitter, Norman said from his account, @sharkgregnorman: "@garyplayer the right decision on the anchored putter. It will be interesting to see what the @PGATOUR decides or implements."

• • •

Beth Daniel, LPGA veteran

Anchoring is not the problem with the game. How about the art of ball striking, slow play, the ball, driving distance, lining players up?

• • •

Sara Brown, LPGA player

I use a 33inch putter so the anchor ban doesn't concern me BUT I have tried a long putter and it in no way was easier for me... So if it's such an advantage per say why isn't every tour pro playing with one? Thoughts?

• • •

Parker McLachlin, PGA Tour player

I'm in support of the ban on anchoring for tournament golf. It should have been done a long time ago though.

• • •

Arron Oberholser, PGA Tour player

The USGA just cut down a mole hill. Can they now get to the mountain? Which mountain? Driver, ball, slow play, access. You choose.

• • •

Sergio Garcia, PGA Tour and European Tour player

Fortunately it doesn’t affect me. I did use it for a little bit but I never really felt that comfortable with it.

It’s going to be a bit of a bother for some of the other guys, but I think they will figure out a way to get their game around it.

I stand behind the decision of the R&A and USGA and I think we should all do the same thing.

• • •

John Daly, PGA Tour player

NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL....all professional organizations create their rules, PGA should also create rules as professionals in our organization

• • •

LPGA tour statement

The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as established by the USGA and the R&A. We recognize the need for an independent governing body to maintain the rules of the game. We trust in the ability and expertise of both the USGA and R&A to make the decisions that are in the best interests of the game.

The USGA provided ample time and opportunity for us to not only educate our players, but also to solicit input, concerns and feedback surrounding Rule 14-1b. While we know that not every one of our members is in favor of the rule change, the LPGA will continue to respect and follow the Rules of Golf which includes the implementation of Rule 14-1b in January of 2016.

• • •

David Feherty, broadcaster and former player

Horrible decision. Professional golfers need to make the rules for professional golf. Not rocket science.

• • •

Brendan Steele, PGA Tour player

Steele, who has anchored much of his Tour career, recently went conventional at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. "But not because of all of this anchoring ban," he said. "I did it because I wasn't putting well.

"Does it make it easier? It's a matter of preference. Some people think using a blade putter makes putting easier, some people don't.

"But it shows you how bogus the comment period was."

Referencing Sunday's final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship – where on the swing hole, the par-5 16th, Sang-Moon Bae made a birdie putt to break a tie and take a lead that he would not relinquish and then Keegan Bradley, an anchored, missed – Steele laughed.

"Let's see, Moon has a 4 1/2-footer (closer to 6) and makes it, then Keegan on the same line and closer (about 4 feet) misses. How easy is it?"

• • •

Ben Crane, PGA Tour player

"I think they're giving guys ample time (to adjust)," said Crane, who always has used a conventional putting stroke. "But there's just no good answer. Guys have been doing it forever, so it's tough for them."

• • •

Paul Lawrie, 1999 Open Champion

They’ve made the right decision personally, because I don’t use it. If I used it then I’d probably be a little bit more upset. I’ve used it in the past, but only one day in competition, at the Wales Open and I had 40 putts. The guys that do use it are going to be a little bit upset. So I agree with it. I think when the club touches your body it’s got to be easier, so I think they’ve made the right decision.

• • •

Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the European Tour’s tournament committee

I don’t agree with the decision. I don’t think the ban is right. They obviously are doing it for reasons they think are protecting the game, and I can see that argument. But they should have thought of that 25 years ago.

You have so many players today who don’t know anything different. I don’t think it’s right that you tell people something is okay for so long and you can make a living with it, and then all of sudden tell them it’s wrong and they have to learn something new to keep their living going. I don’t agree with that. It can’t be right.

They (the governing bodies) have themselves to blame for taking so long. I think they’ve acted because a few guys won a few majors. So is Keegan Bradley’s major, Webb Simpson’s major, are they now belittled because they used a long putter? To ban it now is wrong. I accept the ban is there and when it’s in place no one will think about it, but I feel sorry for the guys who have to learn a new skill to maintain their living.

I also think the game is suffering right now with participation, and we are putting a ban in amateur golf that is going to hurt the game, hurt participation.

• • •

Nicolas Colsaerts, PGA Tour and European Tour player

I agree with the ban. When I was a little kid watching golf on TV everyone used a short putter. It’s a difficult decision to take because it’s been around for so long, but my idea of golf is that everyone should use a short putter. You should have to control your nerves over a four-foot putt. I haven’t tried either putter. I don’t understand the concept.

• • •

Graeme McDowell, PGA Tour and European Tour player

I agree with the decision. I think anchoring goes against the ethos of the game, the physical demands of the game. You shouldn’t be anchoring a club to your body. I know it’s been around for many years but let’s keep the game pure. I would have gone for bifurcation because if it keeps elderly players or those with back issues or whatever in the game than that has to be good. Bifurcation would have been a good middle ground.

• • •

Francesco Molinari, European Tour player

I think they’re doing the right thing. If you anchor then it’s a different type of shot to any other shot in golf. I used a belly putter for a year and a half. I definitely got some of the advantages in the beginning but it didn’t last. I don’t think there is any permanent advantage, at least for me there wasn’t. After a while I lost the benefit of it and went back to the short putter.

They should have banned it when it first came out. I don’t agree with bifurcation. I want to see the same set of rules for everybody, amateurs and professionals. If you start doing different things then it might lead to other differences. I think it’s nice for amateurs and kids growing up and weekend players to play the same rules as us.

• • •

Martin Kaymer, PGA Tour and European Tour player

I’m very glad that it’s over, that we don’t need to talk about it anymore. I’m just glad that it’s off the table now, that a decision has been made. I really don’t care about the topic anymore. At the end of the day it’s not cheating. Because you still have to practice with a putter in order to become good. It’s not like all of a sudden you pick it up and you make more putts. But I really don’t care anymore. I’m just tired of the question.

• • •

Butch Harmon, Teaching Professional

Pro golf is the only sport in the U.S. that has an amateur body making its rules. Time to change

• • •

David Eger, Champions Tour player and formerly the senior director, rules and competitions, for the U.S. Golf Association

I’ve never thought anchoring should be allowed.

I don’t know how the tour cannot go along with the USGA. How can they play forty-some events with one rule and then go to the U.S. Open and the British Open and perhaps the Masters and the PGA Championship, and anything else, and have a different rule? I don’t know how you do that. It would be chaos. Ultimately, I think the tour will see the light that it has to conform with the rules. If they’re going to play USGA rules, they have to play all USGA rules. This isn’t an equipment thing; this is a rules thing — a playing rule.

It’s unfortunate for those players who’ve gotten to the point of dependency on it, but I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to survive and play well and putt well with a conventional-length putter.

• • •

Laetitia Beck, Duke junior

Why did you switch?

Beck: "I don’t have the greatest putting and I tended to push it a little so for a long time I wanted to try a belly because I felt like it was going to be easier for me to stay down and not push the putt. I thought by using a belly, I’m not going to think as much about the stroke because by itself it happens.”

Did it have a significant impact on your game?

Beck: "Not great improvement. … That’s why I’m not that upset that they are going to ban it. I feel like maybe it’s going to help me by making other people who are not as good switch to a short putter.”

• • •

Des Smyth, Champions Tour player who has used a long putter for approximately 10 years

We knew it was on the way. There seems to be a bit of devisiveness with the tour, but I assume everyone will come off the same page. It’s the right thing for the game in that if they make these decisions for what they believe is the betterment of the game, I think we should run along with it.

I’ve used it (a long putter) for about 10 years. I’m very comfortable with it, but I don’t think I’ll have any difficulty going back. There are so many different grips now. Years ago people had difficulty with putting, they didn’t have the imagination to come up with different ideas. Now you have claw grips and two-handed grips. You look at Sergio Garcia putting with his style of grip, and he’s putting very well with that. I don’t think it’s something that players really fear.

I think the tours will end up there (on the same page). It would be silly, otherwise. I think they’ll go that route, but I’m not the authority on this. But they use it because they can.

I remember asking someone once, ‘Why do you play out of a cart? You’re fit as a flea.’ He said, ‘Because I can.’ ”

I had no difficulty (making the transition to a long putter) and I don’t think pros will (have difficulty making the transition from a long putter). We have the time and a lot of them have the determination to come up with a solution. We play the game we love. We also do it as our career, so it doesn’t give you many options. If they start putting obstacles in your way, you have to find a way around them.”

• • •

Acushnet (parent company of Titleist)

The rule change regarding anchoring, as explained by the USGA and R&A, concerns only the definition of a stroke, and does not alter any current equipment regulations or impact any equipment that we manufacture and sell. We believe in one set of rules in golf and support the USGA and R&A as the ruling bodies and will continue to manufacture golf equipment that abides by the rules they establish.

• • •

Bob Philion, President, Cobra Puma Golf

Golf lost today. This is not the direction we should be going, it will only continue to alienate people from golf. Cobra Puma Golf has been stressing the importance of game enjoyment since we formed in 2010; game enjoyment is how we are going to bring people back to golf. This decision is a giant leap back on that front. With this decision, bifurcation needs to be front and center in golf's conversations and we should be focusing on adapting the rules and the game to be inclusive and fun.

• • •

Chris Koske, Global Director, Odyssey Golf

Odyssey’s mission is simple: constantly innovate to help golfers drain more putts. We strive to make putting easier for golfers while respecting and operating within the rules established by the USGA.

We have anticipated the anchoring technique ban for some time and have already introduced products - including the Odyssey Tank #7, which has already won on Tour - that promote stability in the putting stroke in accordance with the USGA rules. Golfers are responding enthusiastically to these putters, and we plan to continue leading the industry in alternative methods of putting with future product launches."

• • •

Nike Golf

In cases like this, the USGA and R&A's decision to redefine the Rules on a product that has already legitimately been in play for many years has an impact on both manufacturers and golfers. Despite this, Nike always manages to adapt to the changes and deliver innovative products within the redefined Rules. The USGA and the R&A have the right to make these changes for competitive play. Beyond this decision, we believe that the best interests of the sport of golf are better served by focusing on providing experiences that inspire golfers to play more; developing products that help them to perform better; and better connecting to the golfer in a world where alternative recreational choices are increasing.

• • •

John Solheim, Chairman and CEO, Ping Golf

I appreciate this was an open process. I also recognize the importance of a single rule book. However, I believe the rulemaking bodies need to better address how we need to make the game more welcoming. I will continue to focus my efforts on that goal."

• • •

TaylorMade Golf

We appreciate the process the USGA used in its decision to ban the anchoring of putters, but we don’t agree the decision is in the best interest of the game.

• • •

Tim Clarke, General Manager, Wilson Golf

I don’t believe the manufacturer’s position has been considered in the two previous equipment decisions pertaining to the belly putter and wedge groove change. These decisions reduce commercial opportunities for OEMs in categories that have been well defined for the past few decades.

Considering how challenging the game can be for golfers, the anchoring ban may reduce the enjoyment for players at every level. Although the decision could have an adverse effect on participation and overall enjoyment, I don't believe it will have a huge effect.

Since the announcement of consideration of the rule change, we have realized a substantial decline in belly putter sales, at both green grass shops and off-course retailers. I assume the reduction was in anticipation of a final decision to ban this product in the near future. We are always working for innovative product solutions to help golfers enjoy the game at their respective levels. This process continues to get more challenging as the USGA and R&A continue to limit the innovations in performance benefits we at Wilson Golf can provide the consumer.

• • •

Hale Irwin, three-time U.S. Open champion, current Champions Tour player and a player director on the Champions Tour Division Board

It’s an unanswerable question. From a personal level, I’ve never been in favor of the long putter. Back when Orville Moody broke it out many, many years ago, I just didn’t think it was right. So you’re talking to a player who may be on the conservative side of the ledger, versus some of the others who have as much passion for it as some are against it. I can see the dilemma that the USGA let itself get into. The looming threat of lawsuits, I think, is the wrong way to go. But at the same time, we’re looking at 2016 and that’s a long time out there, really.

Do your personal thoughts confuse the issue as to what the PGA Tour could or should do?

I’m confused by the PGA Tour, period. I think there have been a lot of issues that have come along that haven’t been exactly clear. I think some of the policies that we have in place aren’t exactly clear. I don’t think some of the policies we have in place are necessarily ill-founded. I think perhaps they were rushed through too quickly.

The equipment issue, I’m not going to say, other than in 1977, ’78, when I was on the Policy Board, I made a suggestion to then-Commissioner, Mr. Deane Beman, that we really control equipment so we don’t have some of the issues that have cropped up. Not that I could see into the future, but that was my feeling at the time — that we ought to have tighter controls on what our players out here have at their disposal, simply because, to me, it’s more of a talent issue than it was an equipment issue. Now it’s become an equipment issue. We’ve lost sight of talent.

I don’t know what they (PGA Tour) want. To me, it’s such a muddled mess now. We’ve talked about this so long; there are so many opinions and everyone has an opinion, in the end there are only going to be a few people who determine what happens, but there are scores and scores of players who have to abide by that. Everyone who plays this game is an individual and we make our own decisions. However, when the Tour comes out, or the USGA or the R&A or the PGA, whomever it may be, and decrees something different than what you normally are doing, that upsets the apple cart and I think we’ve got a lot of apples rolling on the pavement right now.

• • •

Laetitia Beck, Duke junior

Why did you switch?

"I don’t have the greatest putting and I tended to push it a little so for a long time I wanted to try a belly because I felt like it was going to be easier for me to stay down and not push the putt. I thought by using a belly, I’m not going to think as much about the stroke because by itself it happens.”

Did it have a significant impact on your game?

"Not great improvement. … That’s why I’m not that upset that they are going to ban it. I feel like maybe it’s going to help me by making other people who are not as good switch to a short putter.”

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