The PGA Tour has acknowledged that the USGA ban on anchored putting strokes will apply to Tour events as of Jan. 1, 2016.
“In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion."
This polarizing issue has been raging for some time, especially given the success in major championships that players employing anchored putting strokes have enjoyed of late. Athlon addressed the subject in its 2013 Golf Annual by posing the question in our anonymous player survey. Here are the responses we got at the 2012 Tour Championship:
• “I think it’s fine. I don’t think they have proven that there is a huge advantage statistically for guys who use it, so I have no problem with it. It’s just a different way for guys to do things.”
• “Let them use it. I’m fine with it. If a player needed to use it to stay on Tour, I think most would.”
• “I’m yet to find a good reason for them to ban it. The arguments so far aren’t really valid.”
• “I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s true to the original ideals of golf. I’ve used one before but just don’t think it’s right. I’d be glad to see it gone.”
• “I’m against it just because I’ve always worked so hard on my own short game without going there, and I think that’s how golf is supposed to be. I’d like to see everyone else struggle and work harder like I’ve always had to.”
• “I think it’s cheating and should be banned. It goes against the spirit and rules of golf.”
• “Anchoring has to go. Just because stats don’t say long putter users are better doesn’t make it right.”
• “I think it should be outlawed. I want guys to have to hold a putter in their hands when they have a five-footer to win, to feel those nerves, not to anchor it to their body to take that away.”
And the fence-sitters…
• “I’ve tried it, it still is something you still have to learn so I don’t really care one way or the other. I don’t need to use it so it doesn’t really affect me.”
• “I don’t really care. But I know there are more out there that don’t want it. I think if it is banned there will be guys who will be gone from the Tour, some really good guys. But banning anchoring is probably fair.”