PHOENIX, Ariz. – Few people have attended the PGA Merchandise Show as many times as Ping’s John Solheim. I always make a point of scheduling an appointment with him to gain his insight, perspective, and listen to his state of the industry. But this year marked a rare absence.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to be there,” Solheim said to me recently. “I participated in the (PGA Tour’s) Sony Hawaiian Open Pro-Am the week before. It is a family tradition. My dad started playing it in 1968. He went every year after that until I replaced him in the late '90s. It's an annual start to the year and If I'm not going, another Solheim is.
“We actually won the draw and got to play with defending champion Johnson Wagner. (The reason I canceled on the PGA Show is) I had a sciatica problem that I’ve never had before. It started tightening up when I got home.”
So we did a rain check at his office, not long ago at Ping company headquarters. Let’s just say, it was well worth the wait.
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It’s a Solheim Cup year. What does that event ...
When the USGA and R&A jointly announced a proposed ban on anchoring, the game's governing bodies indicated they were open to comments for 90 days, ending Feb. 28.
Officials added that they didn't think there was any aspect of the proposal that they hadn't fully explored.
Put another way, they were going to ban the stroke most commonly associated with the long and anchored putters, and there was nothing that could sway them.
“We believe we have considered this issue from every angle," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said, "but given the wide-ranging interest in this subject, we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for consideration.”
That 90-day clock is about to strike midnight.
The PGA Tour has not taken a public position, but that is expected to change Monday when the Player Advisory Council and the Tour's Policy Board convene over the phone.
In nearly 19 years as Tour commissioner, Tim Finchem has proved masterful at guiding the board in his direction. Many players think Finchem opposes the ban and will seek their support to tell the USGA to withdraw the proposal or ...
SAN DIEGO – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem addressed the media Wednesday morning to discuss the previous night’s players meeting and the Tour’s reaction to the proposed anchoring ban. The b-word, “bifurcation,” came up, and Finchem made it clear that he is not opposed to separate sets of rules for professionals and amateurs.
“Technically there is that possibility,” Finchem said. “However, it certainly wouldn’t be our objective. Our objective is to follow the rules and keep the rules together.
“Having said that, the whole question of bifurcation is always out there to be discussed. ... Personally, I think in some situations bifurcation is OK.”
Finchem said he’s long been in favor of having two sets of rules regarding the golf ball, but said it is too early to discuss the PGA Tour not going along with the proposed anchoring ban.
“We’re in the information-gathering process right now,” Finchem said.
Tuesday night’s players meeting was part of that process. It was the first since the anchoring ban was announced last year.
“It was primarily designed to allow players to be able to give their opinions,” Finchem said. U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis was among ...
KAPALUA, Hawaii – The belly/long-putter debate has not cooled since the announcement late last year that the U.S. Golf Association and R&A proposed a ban on the anchoring stroke.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Carl Pettersson, who has used a long putter for all 16 years of his professional career, objected strongly to the proposed ban, calling it a “witch hunt” and that it would be silly to outlaw a stroke that has been around for 40 years.
When asked to discuss the tentative ban, announced Nov. 28, Pettersson said Wednesday that he was unwilling to talk much about it.
Many players who anchor a putter against a part of the body think it is not in their best interests to talk about the ban, yet you have to wonder: If they don’t, who will come to their defense?
Pettersson thinks the players who use belly or long putters are in this fight by themselves.
“If they didn’t use a short putter, why would they care?” Pettersson said of the four player members on the Policy Board who likely will vote on the issue at some point. “It’s a selfish game.”
It's possible ...
As the calendar turns and we head into 2013, there are plenty of questions that face the golf world.
So we've attacked three prominent ones: Will Tiger Woods win a major in '13? Will Rory McIlroy win six or more times? Will anchoring ban be pushed ahead of schedule?
There are plenty of opinions on our staff, which can make for great office debate, but we wanted to keep you in the conversation. Comment below this story to tell us your predictions on these stories and we'll share our favorite ones in the coming days!
Without further adieu . . .
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1. Will Tiger Woods win a major in 2013?
• MARTIN KAUFMANN (Travel editor): Absolutely. At least one. He recently has shown signs of playing like, well, Tiger Woods, and has exorcised that dreadful Web.com Tour demon who had invaded his body.
• JULIE WILLIAMS (Asst. Editor, Golfweek.com): No. I expect Tiger to win in 2013, but I’ll go so far as to say he might not ever win another major.
• SEAN MARTIN (Managing Editor, Golfweek.com): No. I always bet against a player winning a major in a given year. There's only four of them, so the ...
PHOENIX – John Solheim doesn’t like the word bifurcation, but here’s how serious he is about increasing the enjoyment of golf for all players: The Ping chairman has applied for a United States patent outlining the use of an equipment rating formula to determine a golfer’s handicap.
In other words, different golfers would use different equipment. Their handicaps would then reflect the equipment they used, such as a longer ball or a hotter driver.
Although rulesmakers would label this as bifurcation – the existence of more than one set of rules – Solheim sees it as an effective way to attract more people to the sport and keep them active in the game.
“I think it’s something that could help the game and be within the rules,” said Solheim, who introduced an identical equipment proposal earlier in 2012 but did not reveal that he intended to seek a patent.
“I know the R&A had a problem with it,” Solheim said of his original proposal, “but I think it’s got some possibilities that the USGA and R&A may want to use some day. It’s their responsibility to look after the game, and I believe this would ...
NEW YORK -- Ted Bishop, the new president of the PGA of America, is in the middle of a whirlwind month.
No sooner did Bishop, the golf professional and general manager of The Legends Club in Franklin, Ind., become head of his profession’s 27,000-member trade association than he found himself in the middle of an industrywide debate about anchoring the long putter. Then, he had to conclude a search for a new CEO. Next up is naming the captain of the American Ryder Cup team – an announcement that will be made Thursday on NBC’s “Today Show.”
At an informal news conference Tuesday in Manhattan, Bishop wasn’t about to tip his hand on the captain’s name. But he was there to share the stage with the PGA’s newly appointed CEO – Pete Bevacqua.
Bevacqua, a lawyer, spent four years as the chief business officer for the U.S. Golf Association before spending two years as head of global golf for CAA Sports, a division of the Creative Artists Agency. He’s a golfer and golf fan to the core, having started in the game as a 10-year-old caddie at Bedford (N.Y.) Golf and Tennis Club.
When the new proposed anchoring ban was announced by the USGA and R&A on Nov. 28 a lot of pros took to social media to express their opinions.
Well, so did college players.
Even though only a few players use the longer putter, it doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions.
California teammates Joel Stalter and Max Homa took to Facebook for their tiff.
Homa had posted that he was excited about the anchoring ban, but upset that it will take four years for the ban to start (2016 is the proposed year). He compared anchored putting to NBA star Dwight Howard of the Los Angles Lakers’ free-throw shooting, “Howard doesn’t get an advantage shooting free throws because he has no touch.”
While Stalter fired back with, “Do metal driver heads and balls that fly further compromise the integrity of the game as well?”
Homa believes, yes, ban anchoring. He believes it is an advantage for players who use this method of putting. He refers to the ‘ys’ (yips), as part of the game.
“I am a traditionalist when it comes to golf, and anchoring seems far different from how the founders of golf would have ...
Argue if you must.
Take one side or the other: Will the U.S. Golf Association and R&A stick firmly with their decision to ban anchoring? Or will the ruling bodies change their minds in the face of criticism from professionals and amateurs who feel the rule is badly conceived?
Although this great debate probably will continue relentlessly during the next three months, it is reasonable to assume the outcome already has been decided. Rule 14-1b, prohibiting the anchoring of any golf club against the body, likely will be approved as written in the spring of 2013. It would then become part of the Rules of Golf on Jan. 1, 2016.
Right now it is called a “proposed rule,” but don’t let this terminology fool you. I would bet my house it’s a done deal. The USGA and R&A have spent months crafting this rule. The scope of the rule is well-defined, and the language is precise.
How did I arrive at the conclusion that it’s all over except the shouting? Simple. I just studied the history of the USGA and R&A. Then I played back in my mind all recent conversations with officials ...
In a unique twist to today’s proposal by the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A to ban anchoring, the PGA of America issued a statement that underscores how its members are not in lockstep with a move that they say will hurt the game.
Ted Bishop, the PGA's newly elected president, requested that the governing bodies reconsider the proposed ban on the anchored stroke that has become so popular with the proliferation of long putters.
"The PGA has long supported the USGA in its role of establishing the Rules of Golf governing play and equipment,” Bishop said in a three-sentence statement issued after the USGA and R&A news conference. “We have representation on the Rules of Golf Committee, and we have tremendous respect for the USGA in regard to their critical role in writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf. As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game.”
The third sentence was a plea from Bishop ...
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – There was a grin on his face. OK, so that’s not exactly news when you’re talking about Matt Kuchar, but on this brilliant California morning, he had good reason to be smiling.
Not that he had gotten up to watch the televisted press conference at 5:30 a.m. West Coast time, but news travels fast so Kuchar already had heard that he was OK. Correction, his putting technique was OK, as specified by the USGA and the R&A in their decision to ban anchoring.
Was he surprised? Did he feel as if he had been given a reprieve? Kuchar didn’t indicate as much, perhaps because he had gotten positive messages in recent weeks.
“I did hear they were outlawing anchoring,” Kuchar said. “I didn’t quite fully read and fully understand everything, but I was under the impression that the way I hold the putter, or use the putter, is OK.”
Kuchar does use a longer putter, but instead of jamming the butt end into his stomach, a la Keegan Bradley or Webb Simpson, he runs the grip along his left forearm. The crucial difference between his method and say Bradley’s ...
Anchoring of the golf club – not only putters, but any golf club – will be banned on Jan. 1, 2016.
In a news conference Wednesday morning, the U.S. Golf Association and R&A called the decision a “proposed rules change,” but it was clear that the ruling bodies already have decided to implement the new rule.
The rule has been approved by the USGA and R&A's respective rules committees. Next it will be approved in the spring of 2013 by the governing boards of both organizations. In the meantime, for the next three months or so, the ruling bodies have pledged to listen to questions and comments while entertaining opposing points of view.
It is possible the language of the rule could be amended before the final vote by the USGA and R&A, although the substance of what would be Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf likely will remain in place without alteration.
“We do think we have thought this through from every angle,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said. “We are genuinely open to what people have to say. (However) I think everyone should realize that most of the matters have already been debated ...
Ah, you gotta love social media.
On Wednesday morning, the USGA and R&A had a news conference to announce the decision for a ‘proposed rules change,’ but it seemed clear that the governing bodies have decided to implement the new rule.
Since it has already been approved by the USGA and R&A’s rules committees, the next step will be to get it approved by the governing boards of both organizations. Over the next few months, the USGA and R&A will take questions and comments for and against the ban. If approved, the rule will not take place until 2016, giving ample time for players to adjust how they please.
The ban will become part of the Rules of Golf, which is applied in all countries, therefore the rule will apply to all golfers around the world, including pros and amateurs. To nullify the rule, a local rule would have to be put in affect for anchoring.
Many pros, college players and coaches took to Twitter before and after the USGA and R&A’s news conference.
The only good news for the USGA – they are trending worldwide on Twitter.
Here are some of the best Tweets:
With the USGA and R&A proposing a ban on the anchored stroke - set to begin on Jan. 1, 2016 - there have been plenty of reactions from the golf community, but none more important than the individual tours and tournament hosts.
Here are a selection of those reactions:
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While the USGA and The R&A have kept us updated on this proposed rule change, we only recently have been able to review the final language and have not until now had the opportunity to share it with our Policy Board and membership. As with any rule change, we will go through our normal process of evaluating the potential impact this will have to all our constituents. It will be discussed at our next annual player meeting on January 22 in San Diego, and it is anticipated that it will be reviewed by our Policy Board during its March meeting. During this review process, we will provide periodic updates to our stakeholders.
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“The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as defined by the USGA and the R&A. We certainly respect golf’s governing bodies and their long standing ...
Recent Anchoring Videos
Golfweek senior writer Alex Miceli offers his thoughts after Wednesday's press conference by the USGA and R&A.
USGA, R&A explain proposed Rules change to prohibit anchored strokes.