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But this already is shaping up to be a divisive issue, from industry leaders worried about the growth of golf to players who have been using these putters for years.

Carl Pettersson of Sweden and Tim Clark of South Africa have used broom-handle putters all their careers, and they have talked about a possible legal recourse. Neither could be reached for comment. Pettersson was in South Africa for the Nedbank Challenge and did not return a phone call.

“Any competitive player likes to have an extra advantage,” Matt Kuchar said. “I think you’re going find anyone using the short putter is glad, and anyone using the belly putter or long putter is not happy.”

Kuchar used a mid-length putter that rested against his left arm when he won The Players Championship. That style is OK.

Couples wasn’t sure golf needed such a rule. His argument is that if the anchored stroke was that much of an advantage, everyone would be using it. He somehow managed to work Rick Barry of the Golden State Warriors into the conversation.

He referred to him as one of the greatest free-throw shooters in NBA history, famous for his underhand shot at the foul line.

“Do you see other guys copying him?” Couples said. “Is Keegan Bradley the best putter on tour? Is Webb? So it’s a look. They can say all they want, but it’s a look. An advantage? You think guys out here are dumb? What’s an advantage? You would think if this was such an advantage, everyone would be using it.”

None of the top 20 players on the PGA Tour’s most reliable putting statistic used an anchored putting stroke.

“In my opinion, they haven’t screwed up golf yet, and I don’t think this will screw it up,” Couples said. “But I feel bad for Keegan Bradley, because I’ll tell you what: If they banned it tomorrow and we played a tournament, I think I’ll be a better player than Keegan. And I don’t think that’s fair.”

In the meantime, the World Challenge gets under way Thursday as the final event of the year for Woods, and the last chance for this 18-man field to earn ranking points. Some will go to the Shark Shootout next week in Florida. The others won’t be seen again until next year, either in Hawaii or the desert.

The anchored putting stroke will come again. The debate most likely won’t end anytime soon.