U.S. PGA Tour ends opposition to the new ruling banning anchored putters
The long putters will be banned in competitions on U.S. soil from 2016
U.S. PGA Tour says a single set of rules will avoid confusion in the game
Adam Scott was the latest major winner to use an anchored putter at the Masters
The U.S. PGA Tour has ended its opposition to a change in golf’s rulebook by agreeing to adopt the ban on the use of controversial anchored putters from 2016.
The putters – where the top of the club rests on the belly or another body part – have been used to win four of the last seven majors,
Golf’s governing bodies – the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A – made the ruling in May, but the PGA wanted more time before deciding whether to apply the new rule to competitions under its jurisdiction in the U.S.
But the PGA – after a meeting at the end of June – will now fall in with the ban to “avoid confusion” in the global game.
“A ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour,” said Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
“Having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion.
“In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership.”
Earlier this year after several months of consultation, golf’s governing bodies decided to introduce a new ruling banning anchored putters .
They explained in a statement at the time: “In adopting Rule 14-1b, the USGA and The R&A have concluded that freely swinging the entire club is integral to maintaining the traditions of the game and preserving golf as an enjoyable game of skill and challenge.”
The PGA’s change of heart means it will now join the European Tour, the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour in introducing a ban on anchored strokes on January 1 2016.
However, the PGA added that it would likely delay the ban in the amateur game beyond 2016, arguing it would be “beneficial for golf participation and the overall health of the game.”
The PGA Tour also stressed that it would not be afraid to oppose rule changes instigated by the golf’s global rule-makers in the future.
Adam Scott was the latest major winner to use an anchored putter – where the top of the club rests on the belly or another body part – on his way to a sensational playoff victory at the Masters in April.
England’s Justin Rose, who won the U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club last month, used a regulation 37-inch putter after deciding the anchored devices were not for him.
American Keegan Bradley was the first player to capture a major using a long putter at the 2011 PGA Championship, with compatriot Webb Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open, and last year’s British Open victor Ernie Els of South Africa following suit.
Professional players like Scott and Els will now have to adapt their game on the greens before the ban is introduced.