McDowell fears putter power struggle will impact on game
Graeme McDowell in action at last week's Accenture Matchplay in Marana, Arizona. 'You are going to all of a sudden find out who runs world golf. Is it the PGA Tour? Is it the USGA and the RA?,' asks the Northern Irishman. photograph: getty images
Graeme McDowell believes the growing tension between the PGA Tour and golf’s governing bodies over the proposed anchoring ban could decide who really runs the game of golf.
While the Ulsterman is against anchoring the putter to the body and feels sorry for close friend Keegan Bradley, who has been called a cheat by fans for using the method, he reckons the potential power struggle between the PGA Tour and golf’s governing bodies could make a major impact on the future of the game.
Speaking ahead of the Honda Classic, McDowell said: “I do feel for Keegan. It’s been a long, drawn out affair and it’s horrible. Getting called a cheat at Tiger’s event last year and all that stuff, it’s bang out of line.
“These guys are well within the rules right now and it’s just opened up a can of worms with the RA and the USGA. I’d like to see them come to an agreement and set it aside for the time being until we are going to implement the rule.”
Commissioner Tim Finchem publicly announced last week the PGA Tour is against the implementation of the proposed ban on anchoring in 2016, raising the possibility they could ignore the USGA and the RA and allow the method under their own rules.
That could lead to players being allowed to anchor in regular US Tour events but being forced to use a short putter for the British Open and the US Open, which are run by the RA and the USGA.
McDowell believes bifurcation could be possible by allowing clubs golfers to use the anchored putter while banning it at the top amateur level and in the professional game.
But he shudders to think what might happen if the the governing bodies go ahead and impose the rule change and the PGA Tour goes its own way.
“What’s going to happen at WGCs if the European Tour go with it, as it appears, and the PGA Tour goes against it?” McDowell wondered. “You are going to all of a sudden find out who runs world golf. Is it the PGA Tour? Is it the USGA and the RA? Who calls the shots?
“What’s Keegan Bradley going to do at the Open and the US Open? What’s Adam Scott going to do then? Are they going to write themselves off for two weeks a year or switch to the short putter for two weeks a year? It’s an interesting one and I don’t know what the answer is. I just hope they can come up with an answer.”
Tiger Woods is against anchoring and bifurcation and yesterday echoed Rory McIlroy’s call for unity in the game following Finchem’s confirmation that the PGA Tour is against the rule change.