CHARLOTTE, N.C. Padraig Harrington could be compared to a Prohibitionist enjoying a frosty brew. Harrington, a proponent on the proposed ban of the anchoring stroke, put a belly putter into play Thursday at the Wells Fargo Championship. It didn’t help, as Harrington shot 80 at Quail Hollow Club, needing 32 putts on the course’s bumpy putting surfaces.
Harrington started using the putter last week, saying boredom led him to experiment with one last week. “Mechanically, everything I do with my putting stroke is better with the belly putter than without it,” he said. “I was like, 'Oh, I wonder what that looks like,' and I was surprised to see everything was better. In terms of the mechanics, it was a far better stroke. Obviously, feel is an issue when you haven’t used it before.”
Thursday’s round was his first round in the 80s on the PGA Tour since a second-round 80 at the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. Harrington's use of the anchored putter is ironic because he became an R&A “ambassador” in 2011. The R&A has been considered the driving force behind the proposed anchoring ban. Harrington supports the ban ...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The biggest rivalry in golf at the moment could be the heads of two different organizations on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been vocal about his opposition to the proposed rule that would ban the anchored stroke used for long putters. Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson last week referred to Bishop's public comments as a "campaign."
"The PGA of America knows my views about this and I'm disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted," Dawson said. "It put rule-making onto the negotiating table. The negotiating table is no place for rule-making to take place. Obviously, the feelings are strong. We shall have to see where it goes."
Bishop took it one step further in an interview and exchange of emails with Golf World magazine, in which he revealed details of his encounter with Dawson during the Masters and questioned the R&A's male-only membership.
"I find that to be very curious and perplexing given the fact that the R&A has not been inclusive, as evidenced by their unwillingness to accept women as members to the R&A," Bishop told the magazine. "This is ...
History says the primary responsibilities of the two ruling bodies are to:
- make rules;
- conduct national championships.
There is nothing in the charter of either organization about growing the game or making golfers happy. Rulesmaking in golf never has been a popularity contest.
Golfers who secure long putters against their chests or stick belly putters into their stomachs probably will be unhappy when the final ruling is announced.
The USGA and R&A carefully have staked out their position and articulated their proposal to golfers around the world. There is no doubt how they feel and what they believe is best for the long-term health of the game.
Here in the United States, we pay too little attention to the R&A. The two ruling bodies have pledged to reach a mutual conclusion on anchoring. There will be no split decision. Thus it is imperative to look closely at the R&A.
The notion of the R&A capitulating to pro-anchoring advocates is unthinkable to many international observers. Over the decades, the R&A never has been frightened by the specter of criticism. For example, having survived women’s liberation and several generations of feminist rhetoric, the R&A still ...
DORAL, Fla. –- There is a passion in his voice. What’s more, it’s hard to debate that he doesn’t provide a well-grounded and profound thought process that any courtroom attorney would be proud to call his own. If Tim Clark wowed them at a PGA Tour players’ meeting Jan. 21 to discuss the proposed ban on anchoring, he demonstrated Wednesday night exactly why.
Compelling and committed, Clark broke his monthslong silence on the subject and offered praise for Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s opposition to the ban. Though U.S. Golf Association and R&A officials seem staunchly opposed to the anchored putting stroke – a method that Clark has used for approximately 15 years – the Tour veteran said he remains “quite optimistic” that his technique will remain part of the game.
“As players now, we’re just going to support Tim in his stance," Clark said. "We think he’s made the right decision.”
Since the decision in late November by the USGA and the R&A to propose a ban on anchoring, Clark has not been heard, but for good reason. He chose to study the issue, formulate his thoughts and plead the case first to his ...
Well, they did ask for comments, didn’t they?
Now that the 90-day comment period regarding the proposed anchoring ban is over, the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A – which received an earful from many of golf’s leaders – have a few things to consider.
Foremost among them: With the PGA Tour and PGA of America opposed to proposed Rule 14-1b, which would ban the anchoring stroke used with belly and long putters, should the USGA and R&A go ahead anyway?
The game’s governing bodies released statements March 1, saying the comment period that ended Feb. 28 has been “very constructive.” Now, golfers worldwide – professional and amateur – are left to see what’s next.
“On this issue, we think if they were to move forward, they would be making a mistake,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a news conference.
Other leaders in the game don't concur. Recently, the commissioners of the European Tour, Sunshine Tour, LPGA and Ladies European Tour voiced their support for the USGA and R&A on the proposed ban, which would take effect when the Rules of Golf are updated, in 2016.
Because this is the first time the ...
It’s official – the European Tour will back the R&A’s proposed ban on anchoring. In a statement released by the European Tour today, chief executive George O’Grady states:
“The European Tour has been fully involved in the consultation process which ended on February 28th, and deeply value this involvement. Our Members support the unique role played by the governing bodies in formulating the Rules of Golf.
“Additionally, virtually all of our Tournament Committee and player representatives support the proposed rule even though they are aware, and have taken into account, the fact that some members and especially our senior members use the anchored method.”
As reported on Golfweek.com last week, the European Tour’s board of directors and O’Grady agreed Feb. 25 to back the R&A on anchoring. O’Grady had already consulted with representatives of the 15-man tournament committee by phone or email before the board meeting. Both the tournament committee and the board overwhelmingly endorsed the R&A’s proposed rule change on anchoring.
The European Tour’s stance is consistent with the Ladies’ European Tour and the British Professional Golfers’ Association. All three bodies have backed the R&A‘s proposed ...
The R&A can count on all three professional bodies in the British Isles supporting its stance in the anchoring debate following a decision by the Ladies European Tour to back the ruling body.
“The LET is a members' organization which I can confirm was consulted during the notice and comment period,” said Sally McPherson, the LET’s Membership and Tour School Director. “On behalf of its membership, the LET confirmed to the R&A that we are in support of the proposed rules change to prohibit use of anchored strokes as it was felt it was in the long term interests of the game.”
The decision by LET aligns with the European Tour and the British Professional Golfers’ Association. The European Tour’s board of directors met with chief executive George O’Grady on Monday and agreed to back whatever stance the R&A takes on the anchoring issue.
The British PGA revealed last week that the issue had been discussed by its board. Sandy Jones, chief executive of the British PGA, said his members had expressed support for a ban on anchoring.
The support of the three professional bodies puts the R&A in a much stronger position ...
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
One would think that there’s powerful momentum opposing the U.S. Golf Association’s proposed ban on anchoring long and belly putters. After all, the PGA Tour, PGA of America and National Golf Course Owners Association in recent days have expressed their dissent.
Now that the 90-day comment period is closing Thursday, the question is whether such strong voices will be enough to prompt the USGA to change its mind before acting this spring.
Your guess is as good as mine. The hope here is that it will listen to those corners and continue to allow anchoring for the sake of the game’s enjoyment and growth.
The debate comes at a time when there is no statistical evidence that anchoring gives a competitive advantage. Three players in the game’s history have won major championships while anchoring putters. That’s a drop in the sea. The Anchors Away fuss, though, comes because of three of the last five have anchored.
The problem with the proposed ban is that it seems to focus on a few touring pros instead of the 25 million or so ...
The European Tour will not join forces with the PGA Tour and oppose the proposed anchoring ban suggested by the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity at the London-based tour.
George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, would not confirm his organization's position during an interview at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. However, he hasn't received nearly the level of opposition from his membership that his counterpart, Tim Finchem, has heard on the American tour.
"I've talked to our top players ... and I haven't had a lot of people who think it should be banned," O'Grady said last week in Marana, Ariz. "My door hasn't been beaten down saying we must repel this."
During a news conference Sunday at the Match Play, Finchem said the PGA Tour has asked the USGA and R&A to rescind their call for a ban on the anchored stroke when the Rules of Golf are updated Jan. 1, 2016. A 90-day comment period ends Feb. 28, and golf's ruling bodies intend to make a decision in the spring.
An estimated 18 percent ...
The biggest volley yet in the anchoring debate came Sunday when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem opposed the ban on the anchored stroke proposed by the U.S. Golf Association and R&A.
In a letter sent to the USGA on Thursday, Finchem stated the Tour’s opposition to proposed Rule 14-1b, which would ban the anchored stroke commonly used with long or belly putters, beginning when the Rules of Golf are updated Jan. 1, 2016.
“Essentially where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour,” Finchem said in a news conference Sunday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “I would note that the PGA of America came to the same conclusion after consultation with their membership.”
In two meetings with the Player Advisory Council, first in January in San Diego during the Farmers Insurance Open and again last week on a Monday conference call, Finchem fielded players’ concerns about the proposed ban.
On that same Monday, the PGA Tour Policy Board met for the first time this year, and the four player members – Paul Goydos, Harrison Frazar, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker ...
The British Professional Golfers’ Association will not resist the proposed ban on the anchoring stroke, chief executive Sandy Jones told Golfweek.
“We did not survey our membership like the PGA of America, but we have discussed it at board level,” Jones said. “Our view was that (we) don’t think it makes much difference to the growth of the game in the United Kingdom if the stroke is banned.”
Long or belly putters are not as prevalent in the United Kingdom as they are in the United States. As a result, Jones does not think a ban on the anchoring stroke as used with long or belly putters will impact on British club professionals.
“I don’t think the anchoring ban will affect our members that much. I recently spoke with professionals from around our regions, and I think I spoke to just two of around 90 pros who had recently sold long putters,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s as big an issue here as it is in the United States. You don’t see a lot of club golfers over here using long or belly putters. Sales of these clubs are not a big revenue source ...
While the U.S. Golf Association and R&A are in the midst of what they call a 90-day period of feedback regarding the proposed anchoring ban (Rule 14-1b), the damage to sales of long and belly putters already has been done.
“What’s less than a screeching halt?” said David Lowe, vice president of product development and sourcing for retailer Golfsmith International, when asked to describe the effect of the Nov. 28 announcement on sales.
Even though the rule wouldn’t go into effect until 2016 and the putters themselves still would be considered legal, at the PGA Merchandise Show, long and belly putters were scarce at booths of equipment makers and on the practice putting green. From all appearances, it seems equipment makers have accepted “the inevitability” that an anchoring ban is forthcoming.
“I have stores all across the country that haven’t sold one since,” said Chris Koske, global director of Odyssey Golf.
It’s a far cry from a year ago. Based on a long-putter sales spike in late 2011, Koske estimated that Odyssey would sell 80,000 units in 2012, and said 100,000 units was within reach as the putters gained widespread appeal. But ...
MARANA, Ariz. – Count Steve Stricker, one of the four players on the PGA Tour Policy Board, among what he says is a majority and growing number of Tour players who oppose the proposed ban on putter anchoring.
The Tour will send a letter to the U.S. Golf Association and R&A by the end of the week, Stricker said Tuesday. A day earlier he participated in a pair of 45-minute conference calls – one for the 16-member Player Advisory Council, the other for the Policy Board – on the subject
“My opinion and a lot of players’ opinions changed because the ban wouldn’t be just for us but for everybody who plays the game,” Stricker said on the eve of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Ranked 16th in the world, Stricker said many on Tour believe the timing of the proposed ban is poor. On top of that, he said, there’s no evidence anchoring helps.
“We’re at a point in time in the game of golf that we’re trying to keep players, lure players into playing the game,” Stricker said. “A majority of the players feel that it only puts a negative spin on that, maybe detracts ...
The National Golf Course Owners Association has added its voice to the growing cry in the industry to oppose the ban on anchoring proposed by the U.S. Golf Association and R&A.
A day after the PGA Tour met to discuss the proposed ban, the NGCOA, which claims membership of 3,258 golf courses and 1,900 owners, made public Feb. 19 a letter submitted during the proposal's 90-day comment period, which ends Feb. 28.
In the statement addressed to USGA executive director Mike Davis and signed by NGCOA chief executive Michael Hughes, the association said it is uniting with the PGA against the proposed ban, citing a possible "negative impact on participation in the game of golf now and in the future.”
Further, the NGCOA asked for the USGA to reconsider the ban on anchoring, which would take effect with the next publication of the Rules of Golf, in 2016.
The PGA of America and PGA Tour are expected to draft similar calls for the USGA and R&A to reconsider their push to ban the anchored stroke commonly associated with long and belly putters.
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 ...
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.