Category: Peter Dawson

November 28, 2012

PGA of America members oppose belly-putter ban; PGA Tour to review in March

Posted at 1:44 PM by Mike Walker

Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship at East Lake in Atlanta with an anchored putter. (Robert Beck/SI)

In a recent survey, two-thirds of PGA of America members said they were against banning anchored putters due to concerns over the ban's effect on the growth of the game and the lack of any data to suggest that anchoring is an advantage.

The PGA of America, which represents more than 27,000 teaching professionals and hosts the PGA Championship, shared the results of the survey in a letter to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis and USGA President Glen Nager. Davis announced the USGA's proposed ban on anchored putters in a joint teleconference with R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson on Wednesday morning.

"We believe that golf is the greatest of all games," the PGA of America's letter stated. "We also believe that we need to continue to do what is necessary to preserve all that makes it unique and, consistent with our mission, take actions to grow the game. Therefore, as you near decisions regarding a potential ban on anchoring, we wanted to be sure that you were aware of the polling results as our PGA members are truly the tangible connection between the game and its participants.

"As Mike mentioned in his presentation to us at our PGA Annual Meeting in Baltimore earlier this month, there does not appear to be any data that suggests that anchoring a golf club results in an unfair competitive advantage. In the absence of such data and based on the polling of our PGA members and all of the exciting progress the industry has made through Golf 2.0 and other related initiatives to make the game more fun and, quite frankly, more enjoyable and welcoming to a broader and more diverse audience, we respectfully ask you to consider our concerns."

The PGA of America is not affiliated with the PGA Tour, which issued its own statement on the ban Wednesday:

"While the USGA and The R&A have kept us updated on this proposed rule change, we only recently have been able to review the final language and have not until now had the opportunity to share it with our Policy Board and membership," the PGA Tour's statement said. "As with any rule change, we will go through our normal process of evaluating the potential impact this will have to all our constituents. It will be discussed at our next annual player meeting on Jan. 22 in San Diego, and it is anticipated that it will be reviewed by our Policy Board during its March meeting. During this review process, we will provide periodic updates to our stakeholders."

Davis said Wednesday that the PGA of America, the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour are all consulting members of the USGA's Rules of Golf committee and were involved in the discussions about anchored putters, although he declined to say whether PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem agreed with the ban.

"I think it would be fair to say this question would be better answered by Tim himself or a member of the Policy Board, but certainly the Tour is aware of what's going on and they have a process they have to go through," Davis said.

The LPGA Tour put out its own brief statement Wednesday, saying the women's tour has always followed the USGA's rules:

“The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as defined by the USGA and the R&A. We certainly respect golf’s governing bodies and their long-standing desire to protect and promote the best interests of the game.

“The proposed new Rule 14-1b prohibiting ‘anchoring the club’ in making a stroke is not yet final and the LPGA will wait with interest while the USGA and R&A consider further comments and suggestions from the golf community.

“In the meantime, we will continue to discuss this proposed change with our players and provide our input and thoughts directly to the USGA and R&A.”

The European Tour is a member of the R&A's Rules of Golf committee. The USGA is the governing body for golf in the United States and Mexico; the R&A is the governing body for the rest of the world. Speaking for the R&A, Dawson said the European Tour is expected to adapt the rule change without any issue, and recalled a saying of former European Tour official Ken Shofield.

"When he was executive director of the European Tour, he said the European Tour are rules followers, not rules makers," Dawson said. "I think from some remarks attributed over the past two or three days to George O'Grady, that sentiment lives on on the European Tour."

April 24, 2012

Truth & Rumors: R&A boss says Rory McIlroy is the new Tiger

Posted at 11:45 AM by Mike Walker

Sean Foley's not going to like this. Peter Dawson, who as chief of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club oversees the game everywhere in the world except for the United States and Mexico, said that Rory McIlroy will take over Tiger Woods's position as golf's major star, according to the BBC.

Rory McIlroy will replace Tiger Woods as the big golfing star, according to Peter Dawson, chief executive of the sport's governing body.

McIlroy, 23, is world number one while eighth-placed Woods, 36, struggles to regain his best form.

"You're really seeing the old guard in Tiger, he's only mid-30s, isn't he, and the young Rory," said the Royal and Ancient Club's Dawson. "Every generation has its stars and Rory is going to be this one."

Still, we're not sure if anyone would pay $10,000 for a seat in a "Rory Poker Night" tournament... 

Mickelson will still play Houston in 2013 despite schedule change, still hates rough
The Shell Houston Open has carved out a niche with its week-before-the-Masters spot in the PGA Tour schedule by setting the course up to be similar to Augusta National. Because of a scheduling quirk, Houston will be two weeks before the Masters next year, but Phil Mickelson says the tournament will still be his No. 1 Masters tune-up, according to My Fox Houston.

"I think this tournament has found a very good niche. A lot of players really enjoy coming here and getting ready for the Masters, because the superintendent does such a great job of setting the course up as close as possible to what we'll see the following week at Augusta."

The Valero Texas Open is the tournament that replaced the SHO next year in the week prior to the Masters.

"I think next year it's actually tougher for the players, because the course now in San Antonio is so different than Augusta, that I don't know if guys will still go there," Mickelson said. "I think they'll still come to Houston, because of the way the course is set up.

"I'm certainly planning on it, yes. I don't know why I wouldn't. I've played well here now the last couple of years, and again I think that it's a great way to prepare for the Masters because of what the setup is.

"Now listen, the fact there there's no rough really, it's first cut much like Augusta, anytime I see that sign me up."

Myanmar proves that golf and military dictatorships can co-exist
Looking for a long shot in your 2016 Olympic golf pool? You couldn't find a darker horse than Myanmar. According to, golf is very popular in the Southeast Asian country, which has been under military rule since 1962.

After decades in the shadows, Myanmar's sudden opening-up to the outside is shining a new light on the country -- and revealing, amongst other things, one of Asia's most vibrant golf communities.

Behind Myanmar's "bamboo curtain", golf, a relic of British colonialism, has been an enduring pastime with scores of public courses -- often with green fees as low as US$5 -- and a dozen driving ranges in Yangon alone.

According to Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han, a highly successful Myanmar golfer who first represented his country at the 1980 World Cup, many visitors are taken aback when they see the extent of the country's facilities.

"People don't realise how popular golf is in Myanmar. They don't know that we already have such a strong golf culture," Han told AFP. 

Caroline Wozniacki makes music video (without Rory McIlroy)
Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, one-half of the sports power couple known unfortunately as Wozzilroy, has a new music video. We wish Rory McIlroy would have appeared in the video, if only to see the tweets from Lee Westwood.

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