Golf

USGA, R&A Ban Anchoring Clubs After Receiving Support from Tiger Woods, Others

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 14:  Adam Scott of Australia makes a birdie putt on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2013 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2013 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2013

After several months of debate and discussion, golf's governing body, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, as well as the United States Golf Association, have decided that the practice of anchoring a club will officially be banned starting Jan. 1, 2016. 

According to Bob Harig of ESPN.com, the rule change was first proposed on Nov. 28, 2012, but a 90-day grace period was allowed afterward in order to hear feedback from those affected. Despite the fact that it will cause many high-level golfers to make big alterations, the change is forthcoming.

This news is especially unwelcome to those who utilize long putters and belly putters. Rather than taking a traditional putting stroke, long and belly putters allow golfers to stick the butt end of the club into their stomachs so that they can better control their swing.

Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters using a long putter, and he is none too pleased with the fact that he'll have to adjust over the next three years, according to Harig.

Said Scott:

Now we're making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? Incredible. What did they think when they allowed it? You're dealing with professional athletes who are competitive, who want to find better ways.

While Scott and others who have come to rely on anchored putting are angered by the decision, there are plenty of other golfers who are supportive of it. One of them is Tiger Woods.

"I hope they go with the ban," Woods said Monday (per Harig). "That's something that I've said, that anchoring should not be a part of the game. It should be mandatory to have to swing all 14 clubs."

Although the R&A and USGA have come to a conclusion, this certainly isn't the last we have heard about the anchoring debate. This ruling has major implications for the game of golf moving forward, and it will be interesting to see how the players transition.

 

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