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
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
News
Lane Del Rey performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people... but none of them helped me get a record deal, insists Lana Del Rey
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn