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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will It Be the PGAnchored Tour?

I first got wind of this Monday, but now it looks like the proposed ban of anchored putting styles may be in for a rough ride.

I'm going to pull some quotes from this article. By all means you should take the time to read the entire piece!

As you may have heard on GC's Golf Central (and it's quoted in the ESPN piece), 13 of the 15 members of the PGA Player Advisory Council -- I'll just call it the PAC from here on -- told Tim Finchem on Monday afternoon that they didn't agree with the proposed ban. And that is something that was totally unexpected by most of the people who follow this sort of thing.

The article quotes several players, including Steve Stricker, Tiger Woods, Joe Ogilvie, and Jim Furyk -- all of whom seem to consider dissension with the USGA as nothing out of the ordinary, and perhaps even reasonable.

In fact, if you saw Tuesday's Golf Central you heard several of the facts mentioned in this article. Stricker, for example, is quoted in this article as saying:
"But I can see the tour adopting the rule saying that it's OK for players to use a long putter. And we have probably a couple other rules out here on our hard card that are different from USGA rules, too. And that wouldn't be any different, I guess."
And then "hard card" is defined:
A hard card is what sometimes is referred to as "conditions of competition." For example, the tour often will allow players to lift, clean and replace the golf ball in the fairway during wet conditions. The USGA does not allow for such preferred lies.
GC had talked at length about the hard card situation.

Part of the reason this is an issue is a perceived fairness issue -- that is, anchoring has been allowed for 40 years or so and it's a bit late to change things for players who have been using it for a while. Anchoring is much older than that, however; some of you may remember a post I did back in December about "Diegeling." I included a picture of Leo Diegel anchoring a putter way back in 1924. Diegel won two majors using the technique.

Of course, there's a concern that we'll enter a "Wild West" period with anchoring allowed in some events and not in others. If the PGA Tour decides to make a local rule allowing anchoring, we might see a time where you could use a belly putter in most PGA Tour events and the PGA Championship and possibly the Masters, but not in European Tour events, the US Open (run by the USGA), or the Open Championship (run by the R&A). And what about the Australasian, Sunshine, and Asian Tours? This could be a real mess.

Perhaps the most interesting thing I read in the article was this:
Stricker said information over the last few months has changed his view. He still doesn't like long putters, but doesn't like the idea of a rule -- not after the long putters have been allowed for the last 40 years.
"Information over the last few months has changed his view." That may end up being the biggest bone of contention, since the USGA and R&A say they decided to pursue the ban because of the information they had. What is the info that Stricker is referring to, and how is it different from the "official" info that started this whole debate? Whose facts are the REAL facts?

The battle lines are being drawn. It looks like more than putting strokes are going to be anchored!

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