Announcement on banning of anchored putting strokes today
European Tour expected to support the R&A and USGA’s plan
Keegan Bradley, US PGA champion in 2011, is one of the best known exponents of anchored putting. Photograph: Getty Images.
The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews and the United States Golf Association are expected to ban anchored putting strokes today.
Peter Dawson, the R&A’s chief executive, and the ruling body’s executive director of rules and equipment, David Rickman, will make an announcement at Wentworth at 1pm.
It is understood they will explain how and when the controversial proposal to outlaw anchored strokes – commonly used with long-handled or belly putters – will work. The suggested start date for a ban is February 2016. In order to placate dissenting voices, there is a chance – albeit a small one – that the phasing in of the rule may be altered. During consultations there was outspoken criticism of the plans from leading professionals, plus the PGA Tour and PGA of America. If the proposal becomes law, those bodies must decide whether to accept it or break away and play to their own rules.
The European Tour will be supportive of the R&A and USGA’s plan.
PGA Tour opposition.
Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, explained his organisation’s opposition. “I think the thinking of the players was that [there is no] data or any basis [on which] to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring,” he said.
Dawson was clearly irritated by these sentiments from the United States. He said: “A comment period turned into a campaign, which was a bit unusual. The PGA of America know my views about this.
“I’m disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted. It put rule-making on to the negotiating table. People have taken positions that they will now have to back off from or maintain.”
He warned last month that the threat of legal action would not deter the game’s law-makers from doing what they believe to be correct.
Meanwhile, Englishman Brian Davis put himself in a strong position to qualify for this year’s British Open after a first-round 66 in the American leg of International Final Qualifying in Plano, Texas.
The top eight players after 36 holes will earn a spot at Muirfield this summer and Davis’ four-under-par round had him in third place in the clubhouse going into the afternoon’s action.The lead was held by the United States’ Josh Teater, who fired a first-round 64 with fellow American Luke Guthrie one shot back on five under.