SOUTHPORT, England – The R&A has no plans to revise the laws on anchoring despite the furor surrounding Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said Wednesday.
Slumbers did, however, reveal that the governing body plans to follow the PGA Tour’s lead and introduce more stringent drug testing for next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Langer and McCarron have been accused of contravening the anchoring law introduced on Jan. 1, 2016, that limits the use of long or belly putters. Both players deny flouting the law and have not been penalized for any breach of the rules.
“The discussion around the methodology of the relevant players we’ve been talking about has been looked at extremely carefully by our governance people and our rules officials, as well as our colleagues in the United States and on the Tour,” Slumbers said. “We are all very comfortable the rule is being abided by for those players.”
Golf Channel announcer Brandel Chamblee raised concerns on Twitter about Langer and McCarron’s methods during the U.S. Senior Open, calling their methods “appalling.” Langer and McCarron, along with the USGA, released a joint statement defend their putting strokes.
“I’m certain that I am not anchoring the putter and that my putting stroke is not violating the Rules of Golf,” Langer said. “I have been in contact with the USGA and rules officials on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and each time I have been assured that my putting stroke is within the Rules of Golf.”
McCarron added: “I’d like to emphatically say that I do not anchor my hand, arm or club against my body during my putting stroke. I have worked with the USGA and PGA Tour Champions rules officials to ensure that I am within the Rules of Golf.”
Slumbers agrees with the USGA in that both Champions Tour players have acted within the laws of the game.
“I think it’s very important to realize and remember in all of these cases that our rules and our game are based on the integrity and honesty of players and the way that they act,” he said. “We feel very comfortable that we’re in a comfortable position with respect to those players. We have no intention of revising that rule.”
While the R&A will not revisit the anchoring rule, it will change its drug testing policy in time for the 2018 Open. Currently, the governing body adopts the European Tour’s approach to drug testing, which only takes urine samples. The PGA Tour has just announced that from October this year, and the beginning of the 2017-18 season, it will introduce blood testing as part of a revised drugs testing policy.
Slumbers says the R&A will follow suit next year.
“Since the Olympics last year there’s been a lot of discussions between the tours, and which I’ve been involved in,” he said. “What did we learn from the Olympics and what do we need to go forward? I was very pleased to see the PGA Tour announce for the next season they will be adopting blood testing and other improvements in their drug- testing policy. I’m in active dialogue with the European Tour on the same issue.
“As some of you know the European Tour are responsible to us for doing anti-doping testing here at the Open Championship. And our feeling is that we would like to move to the PGA Tour-type policy for next year’s Open Championship.”