Thus far the discussion on whether to ban the anchored putter has been fairly civil. While the USGA and R&A have been having quiet arguments behind closed doors on both sides of the Atlantic, players and the golf media have been offering arguments for both sides.
The USGA and the R&A are very close to announcing that they will ban the use of a putter that is anchored to a player’s body. They intend to involve players and the golf industry in the debate going forward, but it appears that the powers that be have decided that the anchored putter is not in the “best interests” of the game.
Does anyone remember the problem that the USGA and the PGA created when they decided to ban square grooves? A certain golf club manufacturer named Ping took exception to that ruling and created a media and legal nightmare for the USGA, the PGA and golf in general.
Does the USGA really want to go through all of that again? The answer to that question seems to be a resounding yes. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis fully understands the consequences of USGA rulings but they feel a deep responsibility to uphold the basic tenets of the game of golf.
Players using anchored putters have won three of the last five major championships. Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els won using belly putters. Adam Scott was runner-up to Els at the 2012 Open Championship using a long putter anchored under his chin.
Keegan Bradley has been rather low key thus far in the putter debate but is gearing up to go toe-to-toe with the USGA should they decide to ban the belly putter.
Bradley told Golf Channel's Alex Miceli, "I am going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on the tour".
Players like Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson have used the anchored putter for so long that it may well mark the end of their careers if they are not allowed to continue to use them.
Both sides of the argument are digging in. Stay tuned, golf fans—2013 is sure to be very interesting.