PGA urged to follow suit and ban long putters

Fears of a split in the sport after R&A announces end of use of club from 2016

Polite society, also known as golf, threatens to turn feral over the ban announced yesterday on anchored putters. This being a game of manners, those opposed to the decision by the sport’s rule-makers, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association, to outlaw from 1 January 2016, the use of devices that pivot against the body, soften their frustration beneath a veneer of civility. But don’t be fooled by etiquette.

Golf is holding its breath over the next few weeks while the most powerful force in the game, the PGA Tour of America, decides whether to take defeat on the chin or go it alone in defiance of Rule 14-1b. The Tour set out its opposition to the proposed amendment during the three-month consultation period that closed in February and said it would now begin a process of deliberation with its members to determine what elements of the rule it would implement. The Tour reserves the right to operate under a local rule that allows its members to use anchored devices at its events.

Though there are prominent voices speaking out against that position, like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, arguing that all clubs should swing freely, there is strong support from players of the calibre of Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Adam Scott and Ernie Els, all of whom have won majors with anchored devices in the past two years.

In justification of the ban R&A chief executive, Peter Dawson, said: “We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game. The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised. We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf.”

Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, the body representing professional golfers and coaches in the United States, disagrees and has thrown his weight behind the professional tour. “We are disappointed with this outcome,” Bishop said. “As we have said publicly and repeatedly during the comment period, we do not believe 14-1b is in the best interest of recreational golfers and we are concerned about the negative impact it may have on both the enjoyment and growth of the game.”

The PGA Tour statement said: “We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation.”

Colin Montgomerie, who sank the winning putt at the 2004 Ryder Cup using the anchoring method, gave the decision a resounding pat on the back. “I’m delighted that common sense is prevailing and we’re getting rid of something that took the pressure and tension out of the game. We want to put that back in. I holed a putt to win the Ryder Cup with an anchored putter, and I was very glad that I had one. I’m not so sure the ball would have gone in without it. That proved that it was easier with that putter than without.”

Montgomerie urged PGA Tour supremo, Tim Finchem, not to forge ahead with the threatened split. “I can understand that Tim Finchem feels he has to work on behalf of his players. But let’s hope he has to go along with it. It’s not good for the game. I’d hope they would see there is no win here. The game moves on. Hindsight tells us it should have happened 20 years ago, and then it would have been easier.”

Another who once dabbled with the long handle, Sergio Garcia, said: “I did use it for a little bit but I never really felt comfortable with it. I think it is going to be a bit of bother for some of the other guys, but I think they will figure out a way to get their game around it. Obviously I stand behind the decision of the R&A and the USGA. I think that we should all do the same thing.”

Suggested Topics
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
His band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering