Category: Anchored Putting

November 18, 2013

Chris Kirk apologies for saying anchored putters should feel 'guilty'

Posted at 11:29 AM by Josh Sens

Chris-KirkStep away from the iPhone and put the bottle down!

If the modern world of sports has taught us anything, it's that booze and social media make awkward bed fellows.

As the latest example, consider the PGA Tour's Chris Kirk, who apologized Sunday after dispatching a flurry of apparently tipsy tweets.

While watching the Australian Masters on TV this weekend, Kirk, winner of the McGladrey Classic, voiced his distaste for anchored putting, suggesting that players who used the method should feel "guilty."

(The winner of the Australian event was none other than broomstick putter Adam Scott.)

Kirk also said that the USGA had put players in an awkward position by not outlawing anchored putting right away, and he mused, by way of Twitter, "Kuch is my boy, but who did he pay off to make his method legal?" -- referring to Matt Kuchar's armbar putting style.

No sooner had his comments hit the Twittersphere than Kirk seemed to feel, well, guilty. He deleted the Kuchar post, and apologized for being disrespectful to his friends and peers on Tour.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," he wrote, "but I cross the line. Don't drink and tweet!"

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June 26, 2013

Harrington: Anchored putting not cheating until 2016

Posted at 9:49 PM by Mike Walker

Paddy_300Padraig Harrington has a philosophical position on anchored putting: he believes that anchoring is counter to the spirit of the game, but he intends on anchoring until the putting stroke is banned on Jan. 1, 2016. He drew this distinction in an interview in the July issue of Golf Magazine.

The proposed ban on anchored putting would take effect in 2016. You have an unusual stance. You believe anchoring is against the spirit of the game, yet you made the switch in May. Why?

It's better for my putting. I saw all these long putters and thought, "Well, there must be something in it." I have a machine that monitors all this putting data, and I'm technically better with an anchored putter. I don't decelerate, and my [clubface] rotation is better. It helped give me confidence on short ones [at the Players Championship], so when I have a 20-footer, I'm not worried about knocking it three feet past.

You might not be able to use it for long.

Well, three years is a long time in pro golf.

Do you see it as cheating?

Look, it's not cheating. On one hand, I disagree with the anchored method. I really do. It's against the spirit of the game. It's not good for golf. It's controversial. It's a distraction. On the other hand, I'm a professional, and I've got to do everything I can within the rules to compete today. Sure, it will be banned in 2016, but by then I'll be 45 -- and how many guys win majors after 45? I feel a sense of urgency.

Interesting. So it's not cheating until the rules say that it's cheating?

Absolutely. I don't see any problem with it so long as it's within the rules. I'm a great believer of the rules. You live and die by the rules, and the rules say it's okay for now. It's no different than getting a legal drop that gets me away from the cart path and also away from a tree. I'm delighted! Am I gonna say, "No thanks, I don't want the drop -- I'll accept that I'm behind a tree." No way. The rules penalize me some days and help me on others.

In the interview, Harrington also talks about Rory McIlroy’s uneven play this season.

What's up with your fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy? Is he in a slump?

He has hot and cold spells. Remember, last summer he had a spell where he missed three or four cuts, then won three times late in the year. That's who Rory is.

Rory is compared to Tiger a lot, but maybe he's more like Phil Mickelson: very talented, very streaky.

And as Rory accepts that that's his style -- and he's starting to -- he'll start to peak more every week, because he won't push to make things happen. He'll relax, press less, let his game come to him. When he pushes for those results every week, he gets frustrated and it knocks his confidence back. And those weeks when he's on? He laps the field.

You can read the full interview here.

Photo: Harrington talks to the media Tuesday at the Irish Open (Getty Images).

May 29, 2013

Poll: Nearly 60 percent of Tour players support anchoring ban

Posted at 12:28 PM by Mike Walker

Scott_walbergNearly 60 percent of PGA Tour pros support the USGA’s ban on anchored putting as practiced by players like Adam Scott [right], according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 70 PGA Tour players.

In response to the question “Should anchored putting be banned on the PGA Tour,” 59 percent of players polled agreed.

The USGA and R&A announced last week that anchored putting strokes -- where the club is “anchored” against the player’s body -- will be illegal, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The ban would affect popular PGA Tour players like Adam Scott [right], Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els. The PGA Tour, which follows the USGA’s rules, has not indicated if it will abide by the new rule or allow anchored putting in PGA Tour events. A majority of players in the SI poll -- 57 percent -- said the PGA Tour should set its own rules of competition.

In addition to anchored putting, the SI poll asked players to name the best swing on Tour, the worst swing on Tour and whether they thought Tiger Woods would beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories. You can see the full poll results here.

Photo: David Walberg/Sports Illustrated
May 17, 2013

USGA to announce anchored putter decision on Tuesday

Posted at 9:55 AM by Mike Walker

Bradley_long_300Anchored putters, your time may be up.

The USGA will announce its final decision on whether to ban anchored putting -- in other words, belly putter and long putters that are "anchored" against the body -- at a news conference Tuesday at USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. The 8 a.m. press conference will be broadcast live on Golf Channel. The USGA will also provide a live webcast of the press conference here.

In November, the USGA and the R&A proposed a rule change to ban anchored putting strokes after three of the previous five major champions used either belly putters or long putters, including Keegan Bradley [right] at the 2011 PGA Championship. After the USGA and R&A proposed to ban anchored putting, Adam Scott won the Masters with a long putter in April. (The R&A -- the Royal & Ancient Golf Club -- administers the game outside the United States and Mexico.)

The proposed rule change has been controversial; the PGA Tour and the PGA of America have both told the USGA that they are against the proposed change. However, the European Tour, the LPGA and several prominent former and current players -- including Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer -- support the ban.

In a written statement in November, the USGA executive Mike Davis said that anchored putting is at odds with the essence of the game:  “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “The player’s challenge is to control the movement of the entire club in striking the ball, and anchoring the club alters the nature of that challenge. Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club.”

Supports of anchored putting have argued that the rule change is not fair to players who use anchoring, which has been legal for 30 years, that the ban would limit the enjoyment of recreational players, and that anchored putting is not an advantage.

USGA do not appear to have changed their mind. In an interview in the June issue of Golf Magazine, Davis defended the proposed rule change.

"We weren't trying to hurt anybody," Davis said. "It's a divisive issue and it's been divisive ever since the long putter has been around. We're simply trying to clarify it and put it to bed."

If the USGA and R&A adopt the rule change, then it would most likely take effect in the next scheduled rules update: Jan 1. 2016. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has declined to say whether the PGA Tour would go along with the USGA and ban anchored putting on the PGA Tour.

Photo of Keegan Bradley at the 2013 Byron Nelson Championship (Getty Images).

February 26, 2013

Keegan Bradley: 'I'm being called a cheater more than ever'

Posted at 5:54 PM by Cameron Morfit

Keegan-BradleyEven if the USGA and R&A never ban anchored putting as proposed, the debate has left a mark.

Reporting from the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Steve DiMeglio of USA Today writes that Keegan Bradley continues to be heckled by fans both in person and, more often, on Twitter. 

"I'm being called a cheater more than ever by fans, by some writers — none of you guys — and it's really tough,"Bradley said Tuesday at a news conference in advance of this week's Honda Classic. "A lot of it's on Twitter, which is ridiculous, anyways, I know. I do read it and I shouldn't. I can't imagine how people can say that to me or to anybody out here. It's been really difficult, and I'm sick of it to be honest. I'm ready to be over it. I realize that this is going to be an issue now for the next couple years, at least. I hope the USGA thought about us players before they did this, because it's been really difficult on me and I know it's been really difficult on some other players, too."

Bradley became the first player to win a major using anchored putting at the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. Although it was almost certainly a coincidence -- there is no data to prove anchored putting is more effective than regular putting -- Bradley's historic win was followed by Webb Simpson's 2012 U.S. Open victory, and Ernie Els's surprising win at the British Open a month later. Simpson and Els also anchor the putter, which would be outlawed starting Jan. 1, 2016, if the proposed ban goes into effect.

The issue is expected to be debated until the spring.

"Commissioner Finchem and the PGA Tour have always had their players' backs, no matter how big or small the group is," Bradley said. "Two of the biggest golf organizations, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America, have said that they don't agree with the USGA (and R&A). If they are really taking this comment period seriously, I think they really need to look at what's been said by both those organizations."

RELATED PHOTOS: Pros affected by anchored putting ban

(Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

January 23, 2013

Clark speaks out against anchored putting ban in players' meeting: Truth & Rumors

Posted at 9:58 AM by Jeff Ritter

Tim-ClarkAs expected, the anchored putting ban was the hottest topic at the PGA Tour players' meeting held Tuesday night at Torrey Pines.

The USGA and R&A have already ruled to ban anchored putting starting in 2016. The Tour generally goes along with the ruling bodies' decisions, but there is some chance that the Tour could enact the ban earlier or decide not to adopt it all, though that seems unlikely.

Golf Channel's Randall Mell reports that at least one player, Tim Clark (pictured), who currently employs an anchored putting stroke, spoke up adamantly against the ban:

One PGA Tour pro after another leaving the mandatory players meeting declined to comment for the record, but two participants in the meeting said Tim Clark stepped up strongest in defense of anchored putting.

According to the two participants, who did not want to be quoted, U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis gave a presentation outlining the proposed new definition of a legal stroke, which would ban anchored putting. The presentation included photographs of proper and improper strokes. Afterward, when Davis invited questions, Clark was the first to ask a question.

Clark, born with a condition that doesn’t allow him to pronate his wrists, uses an anchored long putter. He isn’t playing the Farmers Insurance Open this week but flew into San Diego to attend the meeting.

“There were a lot of questions, but it was surprising that most of the players who use anchored putters didn’t say anything,” one observer in the meeting said.

Stephanie Wei spoke with three players, who asked that their names not be used. She reports that the USGA presentation, and a discussion of anchoring and bifurcation, took up more than half of the two-hour meeting. Her three sources (Players "Albert, Bart and Cal") were representative of the three main positions that Tour players have taken on the ban -- adamantly opposed, in favor of and indifferent.

Albert summed up the opposition's stance: "It's about the actual governing of us as players. I'm not so sure that if PGA Tour members voted, anchoring would NOT be illegal. The real issue is, why do people the USGA Board of Directors, people who don't play golf professionally, get to make rules for guys that do? That's the main sentiment."

He continued: "The USGA has put Tim Finchem in a very interesting situation. He's basically going to decide — well, it's up to the PAC and board of directors to decide whether we accept this or say no. It's a proposed rule and the PGA Tour hasn't accepted every rule the USGA has put fort and this is no exception."

Player Bart was in favor of the ban and disagreed with the idea that the Tour should consider going its own way: "In my opinion, the height of arrogance is thinking the Rules of Golf should be tailored to us (Tour pros). The beauty of golf as an individual game is that everyone plays by the rules. Guys are asking, why do we play by THEIR rules? That’s arrogant to me. One of the guys who talked a lot admitted, 'Yeah i am looking out for No. 1, I’m looking out for me.'"

Player Cal, the indifferent one, summed it up succinctly: "I really just don't care… because I'm a good putter."

After talking to her sources, Wei concludes that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is in favor of approving the ruling, and she seems to suspect that the Tour will adopt it despite all the debate.  Finchem is expected to talk more about the meeting during his press conference on Wednesday.

(Photo: Chris Condon/Getty Images)

November 30, 2012

VIDEO: 'The Golf Nerds' on the USGA's ban on anchored putting

Posted at 1:57 PM by Alan Bastable

Welcome to "The Golf Nerds," a video series created by Golf Magazine senior editor Alan Bastable at Leave suggestions for future videos in the comments field below.

The Golf Nerds: Episode 1 ("The Belly Ban")
by: abastable

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