NEW YORK (Reuters) – The decision on Tuesday by golf’s rule-makers to ban the anchoring of putters brought cheers and jeers from among prominent players and major golf organisations.
The U.S. PGA Tour and the PGA of America, who both emphatically opposed the proposed rule, said they were still against a ban and would evaluate their positions now that the rule has been officially adopted to begin on January 1, 2016.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), meanwhile, said it would follow the rules and adopt the ban.
“We were holding out hope that there could be some kind of a compromise.”
Players anchoring long putters have won four of the last six major championships, capped by Adam Scott becoming the first Australian to win the Masters last month.
Opponents of the anchoring style have said it is not a true golf stroke and that stabilizing the putter against one’s body can give users an advantage to combat nervous hands and what golfers refer to as the yips.
Hall of Famer Gary Player of South Africa, winner of nine major championships and a career grand slam, saluted the ban.
“I spent hours and hours training my mind to have good nerves under pressure. The long putter takes away the nerves. It allows you to hide the nerves and nerves are an integral part of the game of golf,” Player said.
Players that anchor their putters have insisted they enjoy no meaningful advantage and should be able to continue.
American Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA champion, suggested during the discussion phase of the rules process that he might consider legal action against a ban.
Colin Montgomerie, the 2010 Europe Ryder Cup captain, said he hoped Bradley would not resort to that.
“Let’s hope not,” Montgomerie said on Tuesday. “He is entitled to do what he wants to do but let’s hope he plays by the R&A and USGA rules.
“I have used an anchored putter and it was easier to putt with it, rather than without, but I’m in favour of the ban.”
“The PGA Tour is very small, a few hundred players, but they have big impact on the game.
Bishop said the PGA would watch with interest how the PGA Tour acts.
“We’ve had our oars in the water with the PGA Tour, and we’ll watch with great interest to see what they do as well,” said Bishop.
“We hope that these organisations will continue their past behaviour of playing by a single set of rules for the good of the game,” Nager said. “A game that’s growing globally, that will be going to the Olympics and needs one set of rules to thrive.”
(Editing by Toby Davis)
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