Tim Finchem: ban not in "best interest of golf or the PGA Tour"
By mustang6560 on 2/25/13
Like the PGA of America and the Golf Course Owners Association, the PGA Tour announced yesterday it opposes the proposed ban on anchored putting.
Finchem said the TOUR didn't come to its decision without considerable consultation with its player advisory council and board of directors, as well as meetings with USGA officials to discuss the reasoning behind the proposal.

The key factors in the decision were the lack of evidence to support the contention that anchoring provides a competitive advantage, as well as the length of time the practice has been allowed -- and previously approved on two different occasions.

"Essentially where the PGA TOUR came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA TOUR," Finchem said, adding that both the PGA of America and the Golf Course Owners Association came to the same conclusion.

"I think there are a number of factors here ... but I think the essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board of directors and others that looked at this was that in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring, and given the amount of time that anchoring has been in the game, that there was no overriding reason to go down that road."
And the heavy-weight bout continues!

The USGA and R&A landed vicious blows last November when they announced Rule 14-1b. Since then, the PGA of America and PGA Tour have each landed equally devastating blows by opposing it. But, Tim wants everyone who is following the drama to know the disagreement is not a "donnybrook".
"I felt like it was important to speak to that and make sure that we understood that this is part of a process at this point," Finchem said. "There's no reason to assume that everybody is going to go down different paths. I just want to try to calm that sense down. I think we ought to be able to have a discussion about this and come to conclusions without negativity."
Now we wait. The 90-comment period ends this week. Then it will be the ruling bodies turn to respond. Will they drop the proposed ban? Or will they continue full steam ahead and force the PGA Tour and PGA of America to do something drastic like institute local rules to permit anchored putting? The ramifications of their decision could be felt for years to come. Let's hope this doesn't turn into a measuring contest.

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Image via Flickr, Keith Allison

[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
This guy needs to be banned from television.
bkuehn1952 says:
The problem is the USGA/R&A answers to an abstract principle, "the good of the game." They do not answer to the golfing public. They certainly do not answer to the PGA or European Tours. The board of the USGA and the R&A think an anchored stroke is too great a departure from traditional golf. When long and belly putters were a blip on the radar, something old golfers used to tame their nerves, the USGA tolerated the anchor method. When it became clear that anchored putting was growing and "infecting" youth golf, they decided they must act.

The USGA/R&A are prepared to take the hits and fallout from their decision. They have built up a large war chest to weather any coming battle. I fully expect them to thank everyone for their input and then proceed with implementing Rule 14-1b.
oobscott2 says:
yup just goes to show you how the USGA is not really out there for the "good of the game"
Duke of Hazards says:
even if they compiled a 150 page report, there is no competitive 'advantage' if anchoring is available to everyone. it boils down to some people not liking the way it looks. and historically, 'traditional' seems to be the fall back term most frequently used to defend other discriminatory practices lacking arguments rooted in reason and logic.
mjaber says:
I would like to see a comparison of a couple of professional golfers who have switched to and commited to the belly putter, versus their putting stats with a "traditional" putter. How much did they gain, just in putting? Did their putts per round go down more than a stroke? Without showing those numbers, all we have is anecdotal evidence that it helps/doesn't help.

Ernie Els and Adam Scott would be my picks. They both switched, and it has revived their careers. I'd love to see if the improvement is on the green.
Duke of Hazards says:
mike - the thing with putting is that there is research that supports that 'any' change, whether it's a new putting grip method or a new putter, almost unfailingly has an initial and often temporary positive benefit to the player as it distracts the player's concentration from the outcome of the putt. there would have to be a long term, broad and comprehensive study capturing players switching both to anchored and non-anchored putters over time (years) to prove what anchoring has any long term and lasting benefits, particularly in high stress situations. my belief is the effect of adrenaline and stress are not confined solely to the hands and arms but would equally affect the motor controls governing the core muscles and larger muscle groups that are more involved in the full swing. you see both male and female pros crash and burn all the time going into the last holes while leading tournaments due to stress. nevertheless, even if they were able to provide substantive proof that anchoring is 'better'
Duke of Hazards says:
there is still the whole fallacy of an 'advantage', since the playing field is level and the same rules apply to everyone.
jasonfish11 says:
As a person who switched to the belly putter. I am indifferent about the ban.

Based on my experience I only notice 1 true advantage from having an anchored putter.

No it isn't having less effect on my put when I'm nervous.
No it didn't help my case of the yipps (switching to the claw did though).
No I dont make a higher % of my 2-5' puts.

I’ve only seen 2 noticeable differences.

The first is that anchoring a putter makes it almost impossible for the club head to twist during the swing.

Since most pros are extremely consistent at not having the club twist during a full swing; I can't see many professionals having this problem on a put. So I dont see a need to ban them on any tour.

But I do see this benefiting many armatures.

The second difference is actually a detriment to anchoring. You lose a lot of touch when switching to a belly putter. So lagging that 35' put down near the hole becomes much harder (in my experience).
jasonfish11 says:
I wish you could edit posts. I changed the bottom half of that because I remembered a 2nd difference but then realized I should proof read. Oops.
bducharm says:
Keegan Bradley tweeted a photo from Riviera showing a golfer from the 20's using an anchored putter - STOP the madness USGA! It's not that big of a deal! Anchored putters are NOT ruining the game - SLOW PLAY IS!!! COST IS!!!
Werepuppie says:
The idea that there is not a competitive edge because everyone can do it is flawed.The reason the ban was put forth in the first place was for the "good of the game"
If there were a rule that said everyone could go to their drive,pick the ball up and throw it as far as they could,then hit their second shot from there,that would not be an edge either since everyone could do it.
However it would not be in the best interest of the game either.
mantajim says:
Thank you, thank you, thank you, finally somebody speaks up against another stupid golf rule. They've approved it on two different occasions and now it's not in keeping with the traditions of the game??? They ought to be ge getting rid of some of the antiquated rules instead of adding to them.
CeeBee says:
patrickemerson says:
Considering how golf is losing players every year, how is it for the "good of the game" to alienate whatever percentage of players use an anchored stroke? The PGA of America (not the PGA Tour) is dead set against this because it will mean fewer players. Why not bring back the stymie while they are at it?
chipotle mg says:
There is a lot of opinions on this subject and there have been a lot of good points made for either view.

Try to imagine golf in 10 to 15 years with and without the ban. Then try to imagine the game in 50 to 100+ years. I feel that there will certainly be more and more players using an anchored stroke if it continues to be legal. Maybe even up to 100% of the players given enough time. Is that good or bad for the game? That is all an opinion. What is more to the point is why it would be good for the game.

My opinion is that allowing anchoring benefits players that do not have good touch and feel on the greens. I do not want to see the game be dominated by skill in the air and not equally balanced by skill on the ground. I for one am for the ban even though there is growing pains in eradicated anchoring from the game.
mmontisano says:
i hope the USGA calls their bluff because it's not just them, it's the R&A too. if you want to play in Europe and compete in The Open, no long putters. the US Open, no long putters. and then what if The Masters uses USGA rules, no long putters there too, essentially limiting users to only winning 1 major a year.

hold steady USGA!!! a bunch of yippy, spoiled, whiner journeymen on the PGA TOUR shouldn't have the power to change the game.
jasonfish11 says:
Read my above post. You've obviously never used a belly putter. It actually hinders your "touch" and feel.

You have more nerver receptors in your hands than in your stomach. So by putting the but of the club into your stomach some of the feedback from the stroke actually gets sent through your stomach instead of 100% of it going through your hands.

So you actually have less feel with an anchored putter. Which is why I'm probably going to switch back to a normal putter. My lag putting is aweful.
chipotle mg says:

Do you agree that touch and feel should be a mandatory part of putting? or just optional?
jasonfish11 says:

If you chose to lessen your touch and feel I dont have a problem with you doing it. I dont think its a good idea. If you want to wear skiing gloves while you putt to deaden the feel of the club hitting the ball; I wont complain.
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