Pros at Tiger's tournament react to ban on anchored putting stroke
Golf Magazine's Jessica Marksbury tracked down several pros, including U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson, right, during pro-am day at the World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Here's what they had to say about the proposed anchoring ban that was announced today:
Keegan Bradley: "I'm just going to go along with what the USGA says. They're making the rules. I don't agree with it, but I understand that they're trying to protect the game the best they can. I'm going to go with the flow. [The ban] is not going to take place for another three years, so I've got some time to adjust."
Mark O'Meara: "I've always felt like it was probably a little bit of an advantage when you can anchor a putter somewhere against your body, so it's almost like a teaching aid, so I don't have a problem with [the ruling]. I think it's probably the right call. But I don't know about [the three-year grace period]. I'd put it in effect right away. If you're going to make a call, let's not go with a 'fiscal cliff' deal. Let's just make the call. Maybe a one-year grace period, but not three years."
Dustin Johnson: "I don't care. It really doesn't bother me one way or the other. I'll putt with a short putter."
Bo Van Pelt: "It's tough, just because so many guys have used anchoring for a long time, and to go back in retrospect and change something that's been allowed. I use the short putter, but there was a period in my career where I did use the belly putter and kind of went away from it, so I think you just kind of wait back and see. There are a lot of opinions and talk out there right now, and until they put something in stone, it's not going to affect me. I'm using a short putter now for the rest of my career, so it will be interesting to see what comes forward."
Webb Simpson: "I knew it was coming, and I don't feel any different than what I've been saying this whole time. It is what it is."
Bubba Watson: "My reaction is: three years from now? Some of the people are probably going to be retired by then. ... I don't understand. They make a rule, but [it goes into effect] three years from now. If they make a rule, why wouldn't it be immediate? It's just funny how it is. But a lot of people have some disagreements about it. But they changed the grooves and now they're changing the anchoring. If they make the rule change, then it's what they do, you know?"
Jason Day: "I haven't really thought about it. I can see it from both sides. I mean, some people think it might be a training aid, but you still have to putt the ball. It doesn't matter, you still have to hole the ball. I don't know where I'm at on it. Indifferent, really. I'm just staying out of the picture because a lot of guys use it, and I don't want to piss anyone off, so I'm staying out of it."
Hunter Mahan: "I guess I've never been a fan of anchoring. It kind of defeats the purpose to some of the game, and what the purpose of putting is, because putting is all about pressure and it's all about feel and it's all about handling adversity, handling things. With the anchoring in there it kind of takes that out of play, so I think it just kind of defeated the purpose. And I think the fact that kids or anyone just starting the game was starting with the belly putter was the main issue, so I think they had to act. You feel bad for guys who have never used a short putter before. I know guys like Keegan and Webb haven't used [a short putter] much in their whole careers, so I think that's unfortunate. But I think it's for the betterment of the game to make this ruling the way they did. And there's plenty of time, three full years. And I know Webb's putted with short putters before, and most all the guys that use a belly putter have used a short putter before, so I don't think it's going to be a drastic change for them. They're good players; they know how to adjust to things."
Jim Furyk: "We as a Tour were given a heads-up that something may be coming, so right now I think I'll go with what the Tour stated, that we really need to look at what they're trying to do and see how it affects us as a Tour, how it affects the game, and how it affects the players on our Tour and kind of figure out what we want to do from there. It would be kind of foolish for me, because of being on the board and because I represent all the players of the PGA Tour, to go out there and give you my personal opinion, just because I represent something much bigger and greater than that."
Brandt Snedeker: "I think that they're doing what they think is right. I'm 100 percent supportive of them. I've been against the belly putter for the last couple of years, and I think they're doing what they think is in the best interest of the game of golf in the long run, not what's in the best interest of the game of golf right now, but in the next 20 years of where they see the golf game going. I think we, as players, are kind of short-sighted, for the most part. We see how it affects us and what we do for a living, but the USGA has a responsibility to the bigger part of the game to make sure that we're heading in the right direction for the future of golf, and I support them 100 percent."
Graeme McDowell: "I thought they were very careful and very considered in their statements. They came up with the only verdict that they could have, really. Something had to be done. The integrity of the putting stroke had changed, and it's important going forward that they nip it in the bud, and I don't think anyone is surprised by what they've come up with. It's important it was done, and I think it's good for the game going forward."
(Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images)