It has been reported by Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli that the PGA Tour Players Advisory Council (PAC) held a teleconference among its members on Monday, Feb 18.
As many as 80 percent of the PAC disagrees with the USGA’s proposed ban on “anchored strokes,” which would essentially make the use of belly and long putters illegal in tournament play.
The PGA Tour Policy Board is also in disagreement with the proposed rule change and the PGA Tour is drafting a letter that will be delivered to the USGA and the R&A prior to February 28, when the 90-day comment period ends.
The PGA of America and its president, Ted Bishop, has also joined with the PGA Tour players and is drafting an even stronger response to the USGA and the R&A on behalf of its members.
Several Champions Tour players have publicly been opposed to the proposed rule change. A large number of Champions Tour’s top players use the long and belly putters and have done so for many years. To force them to change at this stage of their golfing careers seems to be unfair.
The National Golf Course Owners Association has also drafted a negative response to the ruling bodies that the proposal would be detrimental to the average golfer and would hurt public play at local golf clubs.
Equipment companies have a vested interest in selling more belly and long putters to frustrated golfers seeking any means of getting the ball in the hole with fewer strokes. Golfers will always be looking for the next best putter, whether it is anchored or not, but the major equipment companies have a huge investment in the long and belly putters.
If the proposal does in fact go into effect in 2016, there will be a stigma attached to past tournament winners—especially recent major champions Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els, who have used anchored strokes.
The long putter has been around for over 30 years. Rocco Mediate won the 1991 Doral-Ryder Open using the long putter. Orville Moody wielded a long putter in the 1980s.
The USGA got exactly what they asked for during this 90-day comment period. Since they announced the proposed rule change on November 28, 2012, golfers everywhere have made their feelings known. Most of it seems to be contrary to the proposed rule change.
There is large movement gaining momentum adverse to the proposed ban on anchored strokes.
Now that the PGA of America and the PGA Tour are being vocal about their displeasure with the proposal, will the USGA and the R&A be forced to reexamine their original idea?
Mike Davis of the USGA and Peter Dawson of the R&A have gotten a lot more than they bargained for.
Will they go to the distance for this issue?