Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Els' coach wants quick belly putter decision

March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ernie Els' coach calls for a decision on anchored putting
  • PGA Tour spoke out against a ban on the technique, which could be outlawed
  • Claude Harmon III says a delay on the decision could damage integrity of golf
  • Els, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson have all won recent majors using belly putter

(CNN) -- The coach of four-time major winner Ernie Els has urged golf's governing bodies to come to a quick decision on the proposed banning of anchored putting.

Golf's rulemakers Royal & Ancient (R & A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA), which governs the game in the U.S. and Mexico, announced in November they intend to ban the method of putting by which a club is anchored to a part of the body by 2016.

The decision has been backed by the European Tour, but Tim Finchem, commissioner of the lucrative U.S.-based PGA Tour, opposes the rule change which would essentially outlaw the controversial "belly putter".

Els is one of a clutch of recent major winners who favor using the belly putter -- three of the last five majors have been won by a player using the technique.

Read: McIlroy apologizes for walk off

Inside McIlroy's mega deal with Nike
Rory McIlroy admits walk-off error

Els' coach Claude Harmon III has called for a solution to be found soon in order to protect the integrity of the game.

"They have to make a decision quickly," Harmon told CNN's Living Golf. "Brandt Snedeker, who's easily the best putter on the planet, got up and said to Tim, 'You've got to make a decision now.

"If we let this thing continue for three or four more years the guys that are still using the long putter are still going to be winning golf tournaments and then do we put a asterisk, is there a stigma attached to that.

"The longer this keeps going and they still can't find a decision, a guy like Keegan Bradley, does he practice and waste time away from his game to try and do something or does he just continue to do what he is really good at?"

Read: Rapping golfers return with 2.Oh

Bradley and fellow American Webb Simpson both used the anchored putting technique to win the PGA Championship in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Harmon joined Finchem in questioning whether the method offered players an advantage over more conventional putting techniques.

Kaymer's magical Medinah putt
Rapping golfers return with '2.Oh'

"None of the best putters in the world use a belly putter and I know from talking to guys like Ernie, like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, I think they do feel a little bit that there's a target on their back," added Harmon.

"I think it is going to be very hard to quantify with data an advantage that a belly putter gives players.

"The PGA Tour and the European Tour and golf at a professional level is a sport absolutely, but it is also a business.

"For me what Tim Finchem is trying to do is say to the governing bodies, this is just my opinion, that if you're going to make decisions that affect the professional game you have to involve the professional game."

Former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, who uses a traditional putter, also wants to see the issue put to bed.

"I'm a little tired of it," 2010 PGA championship winner Kaymer told CNN. "Everybody should make a decision and we move on. All the speculation now is a little bit too much.

"The PGA Tour, the R & A, the European Tour, they should sit down and make a decision together."

Kevin Garside, of British newspaper The Independent, suggests the reintroduction of golf at the 2016 Olympic Games means anchored putting will be banned, despite U.S. resistance.

"I think it's clear where this is going," said Garside. "You can't get this far and then say, 'OK, as you were.' The putter is going to be banned.

"The Olympic Games is coming up, you can't have an anchored putter at the Olympic Games. It's as simple as that."

According to Bob Harig of ESPN.com, the PGA Tour will have to back down in order to avoid a division within the sport.

"You can't have different rules," Harig said. "They're going to have to fall in line with whatever the USGA and R & A do.

"It would be chaotic if the PGA Tour wrote their own rule on this, which they've never done. It would be a major departure."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT