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March 01, 2013

USGA, R&A end comment on anchored-putting ban

Posted at 2:21 PM by Coleman McDowell | Categories: PGA Tour, R&A, Tiger Woods, USGA

"Thanks for sharing."

The USGA and the R&A have ended the lively 90-day comment period that was part of the process of their proposal to ban anchored putting strokes. During the last 90 days, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America have asked the USGA to reconsider the ban. PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem said that the USGA had not demonstrated that anchoring is a competitive advantage, and the PGA of America said the ban could "infringe on the enjoyment of the game."

With the cut-off for comments reached, USGA officials said it will review all feedback received about the rule change before taking action. If the USGA and R&A decide to move forward with the ban, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The USGA and The R&A proposed the new entry, Rule 14-1b, on Nov. 28.

“The 90-day comment period on proposed Rule 14-1b has been very constructive and we appreciate the thoughtfulness of everyone who offered feedback. We received comments, questions and suggestions from recreational golfers, golf professionals and organizations representing many segments of the golf community. The discussion has been informative and serves as a strong reminder of just how passionate golfers are about the game -– no matter their position on this specific issue.”

“For well over a year, the golf community has engaged in a healthy and spirited discussion about anchoring, as well as other important issues confronting the game. Throughout this period, we have worked to explain the intent of Rule 14-1b, which aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke that has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge for centuries.”

“As the comment period comes to a close, we will continue to review and evaluate the feedback that we have received. As we have throughout this process, we will continue to confer with the R&A in our work to reach a final resolution on this matter.”

Three of the past five major champions have used a belly putter, including Ernie Els (2012 British Open), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship).

At the moment, the PGA Tour has not said it will go against the USGA's ruling, only that it disagrees with the USGA's stance. Despite the Tour's opposition the ban, prominent players like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson have all voiced support for banning anchored putting strikes.

"My position hasn't changed," Woods said after his pro-am round at PGA National. "I still think it should be swung, it shouldn't be anchored, and that hasn't changed at all."

"I understand his position," Woods said of Finchem. "But I still feel that all 14 clubs should be swung. That hasn't changed at all."

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