Golf’s ruling body, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, marked the end of the consultation period over the proposed ban on anchored putters with a statement recognising the delicate nature of the issue in the United States.
The powerful head of the PGA Tour in America, Tim Finchem, declared his opposition to a ban in support of major winners like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, who triumphed at the 2011 PGA Championship and 2012 US Open respectively with anchored putters.
Fewer than 15 per cent of pro golfers use the longer devices, which, according the Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, are not in the spirit of the game. The R&A together with the United States golf Association, are expected to rule definitively on the issue by the end of May with a ban likely to come into force in 2016.
A spokesman for The R&A said, “Anchoring has been a polarising issue in our sport and despite having weighed the matter thoroughly before making the proposal, we believed it was important to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to air their views. Our consultation period has generated a number of considered responses which have continued to arrive right up to the deadline. We appreciate those responses and will take time to review and evaluate them.
"We note that this matter has proved particularly sensitive in the United States, while the proposed Rule change has been received more favourably across the international golfing community. As we have throughout this process, we will work closely with the USGA in moving towards a final resolution."