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Brent Kelley

Finchem States Tour's Oppo to Anchor Ban; USGA Releases Statement

By February 24, 2013

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PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem made it official on Sunday: The tour opposes implementation of Rule 14-1b, the proposed rule that would ban anchoring - that would effectively ban the putting method with which long putters and belly putters are currently used.

Members of the PGA Tour, Finchem said, don't "think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour."

What Finchem did not say was that the PGA Tour would defy the USGA and R&A - golf's governing bodies - if those organizations go ahead and implement Rule 14-1b anyway. By making a public show of the PGA Tour's opposition to an anchoring ban, the tour is clearly trying to head off any such ban - hoping never to be forced to choose between abiding or not abiding by the new rule.

A transcript of Finchem's comments appears on PGATour.com.

My guess today is that the governing bodies will move ahead and implement the rule and that, ultimately, the PGA Tour will go along with it.

As a reminder, the USGA and R&A announced on Nov. 28, 2012 the proposed Rule 14-1b: "In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point.' " Both the USGA and R&A websites have extensive info on what, exactly, the rule would ban, and what it will allow when it comes to putting strokes.

A 90-day comment period followed, and expires on Feb. 28, 2013. A final decision by the governing bodies is expected "in the spring." The ban, if the proposed rule is implemented, would not take effect until 2016.

On Sunday, following Finchem's comments, the USGA released this statement:
"The 90-day comment period remains a very good process. We continue to listen to varying points of view, and have had many productive conversations across the golf community, which is a reminder of just how much people care about the game regardless of their position on this issue."

"As we consider the various perspectives on anchoring, it has always been our position that Rule 14-1b aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke, which has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge.

"It is our plan to take final action on the proposed rule in the spring."

Because the comment period is still open as this is written, golfers still have the opportunity to email comments to the governing bodies. You can share your thoughts about the proposed anchoring ban by writing to these email address by Feb. 28:
  • USGA: feedback@usga.org (use subject line "Rule 14-1 Change")
  • R&A: anchoring@randa.org

Comments

February 28, 2013 at 10:30 am
(1) John Ambrose says:

It is the USGA who opened a can of worms by trying to take back a 40 year old rule. To rest the fate of golf rules in the hands of a board, rather than the thousands of PGA members who are out there with the public is a way of the past. Today’s greens are so fast and break happy, that anchoring is, for some, the only way to compete. Leave things as they have been if tradition is the motivating reason.

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