Bernhard Langer wants to make one thing clear: he is not a cheater.
Langer, 59, is chasing his 10th senior major title this week at the Senior British Open at Royal Porthcawl. It will be Langer’s second start since the U.S. Senior Open, where the PGA Tour Champions money leader along with fellow Champions Tour player Scott McCarron, was accused by some of anchoring.
Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee called Langer’s putting stroke “appalling,” igniting a social-media debate. Instructor Hank Haney posed the question of whether the stroke was legal. And former pro golfer Mark Allen was quoted as saying, “Every player on tour has been ripped off and they just keep letting it go.”
The USGA, as well as Langer and McCarron, released statements after the U.S. Senior Open. The USGA said that the players were in accordance of Rule 14-1b, which bans the anchored stroke. However, the court of public opinion still hasn’t settled on the issue.
“I personally don’t understand it because I’m a man of integrity, and the last thing I want to do is break rules and be known for cheating,” Langer told The Telegraph. “I’m not touching any part of my body, and I know I’m within the rules. I have conferred with the rules officials on a regular basis, and they have wholeheartedly said, ‘You’re not breaking any rule.’ You have a few people who question my integrity, which is really hurtful.”
According to the Rules of Golf: Rule 14-1b focuses only on the method of stroke; it does not limit the conforming equipment that may be used. While making a stroke, a player may not anchor the club directly or indirectly through use of an anchor point.
The club is anchored directly when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.
An anchor point exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.
John Daly called the rule “vague,” but Langer disagrees.
“I don’t think it is vague,” Langer said. “The rule is actually very simple. You can’t anchor. And I’m not anchoring. I haven’t anchored since January 2016.”
Langer has won three times this season, including two majors. Along with McCarron, the two have won three of the four senior majors this season. Langer leads the money list by more than $600,000 ahead of McCarron, who is second. Langer has won the PGA Tour Champions money list eight times in the last nine years.
“It’s human to be jealous, let’s put it that way,” Langer said. “If I was 180th on the money list, I don’t think anybody would be talking about it. But I’ve been No. 1 the last few years.”