USGA releases statement on anchoring ban
Far Hills, NJ (Sports Network) - The United States Golf Association released a statement on Friday regarding the close of the 90-day comment period on proposed rule 14-1b.
Rule 14-1b was announced in late November and it regards prohibition of anchoring any club when making a golf stroke. The USGA statement read:
"The 90-day comment period on proposed Rule 14-1b has been very constructive and we appreciate the thoughtfulness of everyone who offered feedback. We received comments, questions and suggestions from recreational golfers, golf professionals and organizations representing many segments of the golf community. The discussion has been informative and serves as a strong reminder of just how passionate golfers are about the game -- no matter their position on this specific issue.
"For well over a year, the golf community has engaged in a healthy and spirited discussion about anchoring, as well as other important issues confronting the game. Throughout this period, we have worked to explain the intent of Rule 14-1b, which aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke that has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge for centuries.
"As the comment period comes to a close, we will continue to review and evaluate the feedback that we have received. As we have throughout this process, we will continue to confer with the Royal & Ancient in our work to reach a final resolution on this matter."
At the core of the rule change are long putters and belly putters, which have been used by three of the last five major champions. Under the proposal, long putters and belly putters would not be banned, just the act of anchoring any club against a player's body during a shot.
The PGA Tour was the lone tour to come out against the ban.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said last Sunday, "Where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think banning anchoring was in the best of interests of golf or the PGA Tour. I would note that the PGA of America came to the same conclusion after consultation with their membership. Golf Course Owners Association came to the same conclusion as well."
Finchem later added, "The essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board directors and others that looked at this, was that in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring and given the amount of time anchoring has been in the game, that there was no overriding reason to go down that road."
The European Tour never made an official statement regarding the rule, but multiple reports indicated that the tour would not oppose the rule.
The LPGA Tour commented in November, "The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as defined by the USGA and the R&A. We certainly respect golf's governing bodies and their long standing desire to protect and promote the best interests of the game."
03/01 10:19:30 ET