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Golf’s guardians want long putters to go belly-up
The penalty for anchoring the club would be loss of hole in match play and a two-stroke penalty in stroke play.
The PGA Tour, European Tour and LPGA Tour said it would evaluate the proposed rule with its players. The PGA Tour has a mandatory players’ meeting in San Diego at the end of January, which former U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost tweeted would be a lively session. Knost uses a belly putter.
The PGA of America said it was concerned that such a ban would drive people from the game.
“As our mission is to grow the game … we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people’s enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game,” PGA president Ted Bishop said.
Woods walked quickly by reporters after his pro-am round at the World Challenge, saying only, “I think it’s a good one,” when asked about the new rule. On Tuesday, he said using an anchored stroke takes away from nerves in the hands.
“I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves,” Woods said Tuesday. “And having it as a fixed point, as I was saying all year, is something that’s not in the traditions of the game. We swing all other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same.”
Jack Nicklaus recalls that croquet-style putting was banned decades ago and golf moved on. Even though far more golfers use long putters, he expects the same outcome.
“They’ll all learn to adjust,” Nicklaus told the Golf Channel. “Like anything else, they’ll get used to it and get over it. … We’ve had changes with balls, wood heads, grooves, all kinds of changes. Players have adjusted to those and they’ll adjust to this.”
Davis, meanwhile, did not accept the premise that golf would lose even greater participation by taking away the anchored putting stroke. He even cited a PGA of America program that showed fewer people were playing because of the expense and time.
“Difficulty is way down the list,” he said. “And anchoring would only be a very, very small part of that.”
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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