Putters Un-anchored!

adam scott belly putter

The USGA and Royal and Ancient (R&A), golf’s two regulating bodies, jointly announced Tuesday morning the rules change proposed back in November that starting January 1, 2016, players will no longer be allowed to anchor the putter to their bodies.

Rule 14-1b will effect many of golf’s top players, including Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and 2013 Masters champion, Adam Scott.

The rule change was expected as is the European Tour’s decision to follow suit. The real question now is what the PGA Tour will do after openly declaring its opposition to the rule. Following the USGA / R&A’s announcement, the PGA Tour released an official statement on its website on adoption of Rule 14-1b:

PGA TOUR acknowledges that the USGA has adopted Rule 14-1b which prohibits anchored putting as of January 1, 2016. We would like to thank the USGA for providing the opportunity for input and suggestions relative to Rule 14-1b over the last several months. During that time, various questions were raised and issues discussed. We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation. In this regard, over the next month we will engage in discussions with our Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members. We will announce our position regarding the application of Rule 14-1b to our competitions upon conclusion of our process and we will have no further comment on the matter until that time.

I fully expect them to follow suit though I think PGA Tour commissioner, David Finchem, is a complete idiot evident by how he handled the whole Vijay Singh Deer Antler doping case , so who knows…

For those confused about Rule 14-1b, The Golf Channel put together this very informative .jpg below. Let us know what you think of the new rule change. Cheers!


4 thoughts on “Putters Un-anchored!

  1. There’s a lot of nonsense being written about this. For example, Guan Tianlang is being blamed as the catalyst for the change (see here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2308985/Martin-Samuel-The-belly-putter-away-golf.html) and this ESPN article (http://www.espn.co.uk/golf/sport/story/203874.html#) says “Guan Tianlang is the reason why golf is set to ban long putters” and that the “teenager has hardly any experience of using a conventional putter, preferring to perfect his technique with a longer club that rests against the abdomen from the earliest of ages”. Which is total BS as evidenced by this interview (http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2013-04/guan-tianlang-profile), which says he’s totally comfortable with both and will switch back shortly before the ban takes effect.

    My view: governing bodies have made a mess of this. Players have just selected their preferred putters, as they have drivers, irons, balls etc – all legally – and to suggest they are cheating when all players have the same options is totally disingenuous.

  2. You’re right. ESPN UK is dumb and blaming Guan is ridiculous as the decision was set into motion way before the youngest became an international sensation.

    Using an anchor putter can’t be considered cheating so long as there is consistency and all players abide by the same rules. That said, I do think that it provides an advantage, which is kind of explained by physicist, David Tutelman in this article he contributed to Mulligang.com: http://mulligang.com/2013/03/05/anchor-putter-debate-goes-scientific/.

    The rule is a bit confusing though and some of the approved grips are very similar to the banned grips. I read somewhere that the USGA and R&A should have just simplified it by writing that the putter MUST be the shortest club in your bag.

    Now that the two regulating bodies have imposed the ban, the only thing that I hope is that the PGA Tour complies so that there aren’t two sets of rules.

    Thanks for continuing to visit Mulligang and for your insightful comment. Cheers!

  3. Yeah two sets of rules on two tours would be farcical.

    I kind of get the traditional “let’s preserve the putting stroke” thing, but I also struggle to see belly-putters as that different to Big Bertha drivers, and all the other new equipment that has provided just as much of an advantage, possibly even more so when you look at how much longer players hit it now than before.

    • I guess their thinking is that though technology in drivers and irons have changed over the years, the fundamental “swing” has remained the same. This isn’t the case when it comes to the anchor putter, which essentially changes the entire mechanics of a putting stroke by taking away one of the pendulums. In the end, still a bunch of old foggies who are trying to preserve the heritage of the game.

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