Category: Royal and Ancient


November 28, 2012

USGA, R&A proposed rule change to prohibit anchored strokes

Posted at 12:09 PM by Golf.com

The USGA and R&A announced Wednesday proposed rule changes to prohibit anchored putting strokes in golf. If finalized, the proposed changes would take affect January 1, 2016. Below is the official press release from golf's governing bodies.

By USGA and R&A -- The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf's governing bodies, today announced proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that would prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke.

The proposed Rule 14-1b, which follows an extensive review by The R&A and the USGA, would prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player's body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club.

The proposed new Rule would not alter current equipment rules and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during a stroke. The proposed Rule narrowly targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer's ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style.

Prior to taking a final decision on the proposed Rule, The R&A and the USGA will consider any further comments and suggestions from throughout the golf community.

"We believe we have considered this issue from every angle but given the wide ranging interest in this subject we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for consideration," said Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.

Proposed Changes to Rule 14-1 The proposed change would relabel current Rule 14-1 as Rule 14-1a, and establish Rule 14-1b as described below:

14-1b Anchoring the Club
In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either "directly" or by use of an "anchor point."

Note 1: The club is anchored "directly" when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.

Note 2: An "anchor point" exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.

The proposed Rule change would take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. This timetable would also provide an extended period in which golfers may, if necessary, adapt their method of stroke to the requirements of the Rule.

For more information about the newly proposed Rule, as well as additional information including videos and images of strokes that would be allowed or prohibited by the proposed changes to Rule 14-1, visit RandA.org/anchoring or USGA.org/anchoring.

New Rule Would Define and Preserve the Nature of the Stroke
In proposing the new Rule, The R&A and the USGA concluded that the long-term interests of the game would be served by confirming a stroke as the swinging of the entire club at the ball.

"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."

New Rule Would Address Recent Developments in the Game
This proposal reflects The R&A's and USGA's responsibility to define how the game is to be played. Aspects of how a player must make a stroke have been addressed in past Rules changes, such as the century-old Rule codifying that the ball must be fairly struck and not be pushed, scraped or spooned and the 1968 prohibition on the "croquet" style of putting.

"As governing bodies, we monitor and evaluate playing practices and developments in golf, with our primary mandate being to ensure that the Rules of Golf continue to preserve the fundamental characteristics of the game," added Davis.

Although anchoring the club is not new, until recently it was uncommon and typically seen as a method of last resort by a small number of players. In the last two years, however, more and more players have adopted the anchored stroke. Golf's governing bodies have observed this upsurge at all levels of the game and noted that more coaches and players are advocating this method. The decision to act now is based on a strong desire to reverse this trend and to preserve the traditional golf stroke.

"Anchored strokes have become the preferred option for a growing number of players and this has caused us to review these strokes and their impact on the game," said Dawson. "Our concern is that anchored strokes threaten to supplant traditional putting strokes which are integral to the longstanding character of the sport."

Review Process and Timetable
Earlier this year, The R&A and the USGA announced that they were reviewing the subject of anchoring. There has been widespread discussion of the issue throughout the international golf community which has been noted by the governing bodies.

Each organization is expected to take a final decision on the proposed Rule change in spring 2013. Anyone wishing to provide written comments to the appropriate governing body is encouraged to do so by February 28, 2013 as directed on the respective websites: RandA.org/anchoring or USGA.org/anchoring.

VIDEO: Are you affected? USGA explains new rule on putting

Posted at 9:16 AM by Mike Walker

Still having trouble understanding the proposed ban on anchored putters? The USGA has produced this video to explain the rule change and describe which putting methods will be affected (and unaffected) when the ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

November 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Architect Tom Doak 'horrified' by St. Andrews changes

Posted at 1:04 PM by Samantha Glover

RoadholeThe The Road Hole at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland. (Getty Images)

Famed golf architect Tom Doak said he is "horrified" by the R&A's proposed changes to St. Andrews' Old Course in preparation for the 2015 Open Championship. Doak, who counts Pacific Dunes in Oregon and Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand among his designs, said the Old Course was "sacred ground" and should remain "untouched architecturally," according to The Scotman's Martin Dempster.

American Tom Doak, who said he was “horrified” to hear about the work planned for the historic venue over the next two winters, has written to four 
golf course and greenkeeping bodies around the world asking for them to support his bid 
to overturn the changes.

He described the Old Course as “an international treasure that should be guarded” and is disappointed that the R&A, having already played its part in stretching the course as much as possible in terms of adding new tees, has now turned its attention to bunkering and contours.

“I was horrified to read of the changes proposed to the Old Course at St Andrews,” said Doak in a letter he has sent to the presidents of the Australian, American and European societies of golf course architects as well as the Scottish regional administrator of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

“No longer content just to add back tees for championship play, the club (R&A) and its consulting architect, Martin Hawtree, have planned to move bunkers, add contouring around the greens, and soften slopes in other places prior to the next Open Championship. I have felt for many years that the Old Course was sacred ground to golf architects, as it was to Old Tom Morris and C. B. Macdonald and Harry Colt and Alister MacKenzie before us.

“It has been untouched architecturally since 1920, and I believe that it should remain so. I understood this to be the feeling of many other architects who attended the World Forum on Golf Architecture in St Andrews, three years ago. I don’t believe it should be impossible to change the Old Course, or any other historic course. But I think it should be a lot harder than it currently is, where only the management of the club and any consulting architect they hire have to agree.

“I think that the default position should be that such an international treasure should be guarded, and that there should be a high burden of proof that changes need to be made, before they can be made.”

Fans of the game have come together to display their opposition with the proposed changes, adopting the twitter hashtag: #savetheoldcourse, and even creating a petition to stop the changes.

November 26, 2012

Changes planned for Old Course at St. Andrews ahead of '15 Open

Posted at 10:29 AM by Golf.com

P1-Old-CourseIn news that is sure to strike fear into the hearts of golfers everywhere, the R&A is planning changes to the most sacred ground in golf, the Old Course at St. Andrews. The alterations will be made with an eye toward keeping the course challenging in the face of modern equipment and Tour talent. Here's the complete press release outlining the changes:

A number of improvements are being planned to the Old Course to help maintain its challenge for the world’s top golfers ahead of the return of The Open Championship to St Andrews in 2015.

Renowned golf course architect Martin Hawtree was commissioned by St Andrews Links Trust, which manages the Old Course and the other six courses at the Home of Golf, and The R&A Championship Committee, which organises golf’s oldest major championship, to assess potential changes which would enhance the challenge for elite players without unduly affecting club and visiting golfers while remaining true to the special character of the Old Course.

Martin Hawtree’s recommendations have now been agreed by the St Andrews Links Trustees and Links Management Committee and The R&A Championship Committee.

The work is planned to take place in two phases over this winter and next. The first phase involves work on the 2nd, 7th, 11th and 17th holes. The second phase will take place in winter 2013/14 with work on the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th and 15th holes.

The work will widen the Road Bunker on the 17th hole by half a metre at the right hand side and recontour a small portion of the front of the green to enable it to gather more approach shots landing in that area.

A new bunker will be created on the right of the 3rd fairway and another on the left of the 9th fairway 20 yards short of the green. Bunkers will be repositioned closer to the right edge of the 2nd green and the right of the 4th green. A portion of the back left of the 11th green will be lowered to create more hole location options.

Euan Loudon, Chief Executive of St Andrews Links Trust, said, “The Old Course is renowned as one of the great Open venues and its continued prominence on the Open roster is crucially important to the economy and reputation of St Andrews. The Old Course has evolved over time and the Links Trust is delighted to be working with the Championship Committee in order to maintain the challenge of the course for elite tournament players and the thousands of golfers who play here each year.”

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A, said, “We have considered the challenge presented to the world’s top golfers by each of The Open Championship venues and carried out a programme of improvements over the last ten years. While some holes have been lengthened on the Old Course in recent years it has otherwise remained largely unaltered. The Championship Committee felt there was an opportunity to stiffen its defences in some places to ensure it remains as challenging as ever to the professionals. The proposals from Martin Hawtree should place more of a premium on accuracy and ball control while retaining the spirit and character of the Old Course.”

RELATED: Top 20 Courses in the U.S. and the World

(Photo: Fred Vuich/SI)

November 14, 2012

Truth & Rumors: UK sports minister joins call for R&A to admit women

Posted at 6:05 PM by Samantha Glover

Just days after the outgoing chairman of the British Olympic Association speaks out, UK Sports minister Hugh Robertson agrees that the time has come for R&A to admit women members, according to a Golf 365 report.

"The defence of the Royal and Ancient is that it is a private club and so has the right to do what it wants.

"That is legally correct and I have no quarrel when it is acting as a private club. However, I believe that when a private club fulfils a public function, such as staging a major event, then there is a different slant."

Following the admission of two female members to Augusta National, the R&A has taken heat for its male-only membership. According to the report, they have not issued a statement in response to either the sports minister's or the Olympic Chairman's comments.

The R&A, founded in 1754, acts as the governing body of golf outside the U.S. and Mexico and has never had a female member. Admission to the 2,400 member club is by invitation only. According to a report by Golf Today, prior to receiving an invitation, a member must propose your admission, be seconded by another member, and then supported by an additional 20.

November 08, 2012

Truth & Rumors: British Olympic official calls on R&A to admit women members

Posted at 12:55 PM by Samantha Glover

According to a report by the BBC, Lord Moynihan, outgoing chairman of the British Olympic Association, wants to see the R&A admit women members.

"It is remarkable that Augusta has changed, but the Royal and Ancient is still there having not entitled and allowed complete equality of opportunity for women in this country."

Augusta National made history in August when it announced that the famous men's only club admitted it's first two women members; Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. Moynihan thinks the all-male R&A should follow suit.

"It should be an embedded characteristic of 21st century sport, especially when you see the contribution the athletes make."

"Let's get real and let's get on with the job of providing equality of opportunity across sports, sports administration as well as sporting opportunity."

 

October 31, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Keegan Bradley would consider legal action to block belly putter ban

Posted at 11:05 AM by Mark Dee

Bradley_longputter_webIf Keegan Bradley is forced to give up his long putter, he plans to go down swinging it.

Bradley told Golfweek's Alex Miceli, who is reporting from China, that he'd consider taking golf's governing bodies to court to defend the anchored putting stroke:

“I'm going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on Tour,” Bradley said. “I look at it as a whole, as us all together. I don't look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we've done what we've done is unbelievable.”

Bradley, the first player to win a major with a long putter, has spoken out most aggressively, but other pros are upset that they have been largely bypassed in the decision-making process, and some expect player resistance as the process moves along.

Among those players is Ernie Els, who, after a period of opposition to the belly putter, seems to be softening his stance since he began using one. Funny what a major title will do:

“They’re going to have a couple of legal matters coming their way,” Els said here, indicating the USGA and R&A. “It's going to be a bit of an issue now. I’ve been against it, but since I’ve been using it, it still takes a lot of practice, and you have to perfect your own way of putting with this belly.”

Despite player resistance, the USGA and R&A appear to be moving toward a rule change, which some expect by the end of the year.

(Photo caption: Bradley lines up a putt during the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational in August. He won the event. AP Photo)

July 25, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Caribbean sports book refunds Adam Scott bets

Posted at 12:29 PM by Michael Rosengart

Geoff Shackelford passes on the news from online sports book SportsBettingOnline.ag that the site will refund every pre-tournament bet on Adam Scott at 45/1 odds.

 "With so many of the favorites including Woods not cashing, it was a good day for sportsbooks. But that wasn’t the case for those who dropped money on Scott,” stated Dave Johnson, head oddsmaker for SportsBettingOnline.ag.  “We feel it’s our duty to refund the players for taking such a bad beat. His collapse was historic and we know the bettors who had him must feel as awful as he does.”

In fact, it’s the second time in nearly as many months that SportsBettingOnline has extended this kind of pardon. The book also issued a refund to Manny Pacquiao bettors after his shocking loss to Timothy Bradley in June.

Bold move Mr. Johnson. Bold move indeed.

Olympic golf trophy visits Canadian Open

Olympictrophy

 

One thousand points to you if you actually knew there was an Olympic golf trophy. It's the kind of thing that often gets overlooked when an Olympic event doesn’t occur for 112 years. But the trophy does exist (posing with it are Gordon M. Nixon (left), president and chief executive officer of RBC, and Scott Simmons, chief executive officer of Golf Canada), and it paid a visit to the RBC Canadian Open yesterday according to PGATour.com’s Tour Report:

So a rare piece of history was on display this week at the RBC Canadian Open, when the trophy awarded to Canadian George Lyon, the last Olympic golf gold medalist, was brought to Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster, Ontario.

The sterling silver trophy cup stands about 1 1/2-feet tall and resides at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

Lyon won the trophy — and gold medal — by beating reigning U.S. Amateur champ, American H. Chandler Egan, 3 and 2, at Glen Echo Country Club in Normandy, Mo., just north of St. Louis — site of the 1904 Olympic Games.

Also a sport at the 1904 Games: Tug of War. Seriously.

Police say slow-play argument turned violent at Calif. course

Beware! Your golf clubs may be "deadly weapons." At least that was the case in Angels Camp, Calif., where a local high school vice principal was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course. What could cause a man to attack another golfer with a club? According to the Sacramento Bee's David Ruiz, slow play was the trigger:

[The suspect Robert E.] Rappleye became frustrated at the slow pace of a group of golfers playing ahead on the 18th hole, the press release said.

A husband and wife in the group ahead approached Rappleye to talk about the problem. Witnesses say the husband became angry when Rappleye used foul language directed to the husband's wife, according to the release.

The argument turned violent when Rappleye swung one of his golf clubs at the husband, the press release said. The husband tried to block the swing with his left arm, injuring him. Rappleye swung a second time with the husband turning his back to defend himself. Rappleye struck the husband's left shoulder blade, the press release said.

Video: Watch Heather Mitts and the U.S. women's soccer team play golf

Finally, they said we could never manage to incorporate soccer into Truth & Rumors for three consecutive days. Okay, nobody actually said it, but that didn’t stop us from pulling it off.

Today we bring you video from the U.S. women’s national team getting some holes in at what appears to be Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, England during a break from Olympic training.

The 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up begin their Olympic campaign Wednesday at noon against France.

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(Photo Credit: Eric Bolte/Golf Canada)

July 24, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Els planning to play Canadian Open this week

Posted at 12:07 PM by Michael Rosengart

To most of us, Ernie Els’ Open Championship acceptance speech seemed innocent enough. But, as the Toronto Sun’s Ken Fidlin reports, a little joke set off a minor panic for some up in Canada:

"I'm going to try and come and see you this evening," [Els] said. "I'm supposed to go to Canada but I think I'm going to blow that thing off."

Turns out "that thing" was not the Canadian Open, per se, just the Pro-Am tournament he was supposed to play in Monday morning at HGCC. Els was to have been on the Canadian Open charter aircraft along with some 40-50 other players and their families Sunday evening. Els' obligations as the British Open champion would have delayed the charter for hours, so he sent them on their way and will make his way to Ancaster Tuesday.

. . .

When Els made his offhand comment about "blowing that thing off" [RBC Canadian Open tournament director Bill] Paul quickly got on the phone and soon realized that he was, in truth, going to blow off a little steam and celebrate with family and friends Sunday night but would honour his tournament commitment in Canada.

Fidlin also reports that U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson will take the week off as his wife is still expecting their second child.

Another agenda item for R&A

Yesterday we learned that Andres Romero had Manchester City soccer star Carlos Tevez on the bag for his final round. While plenty of Mancunians in attendance were thrilled to see their prized forward up close, don’t count R&A championship committee chairman Jim McArthur as one of them says Reuters’ Tony Jimenez:

 "I think we may need to look at this particular case," R&A championship committee chairman Jim McArthur told reporters on Monday.

"The strange thing for me was he never put the bag down so when he was standing on the green he was carrying the bag all over the place. It's just absolute madness.”

We don’t even want to imagine what he might have said had Tevez, apparently a golfing novice, actually laid the bag down on the green.

Condi hits the links

While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is sweating over who to tap as his running mate, one of the presumed short-listers Condoleezza Rice was taking it easy with some friends at the Whistler Golf Club. According to the Vancouver Sun, the former U.S. Secretary of State dropped in without as much pomp as the course’s Director of Golf Alan Kristmanson would have anticipated:

I expected the snipers in the trees, close the course, the whole thing," Kristmanson joked. "But she rolled in with some friends, said they were having a girls' golf week and she was great. They went out and played a few holes, it started pouring rain and she said, 'you know what, I'm just going to shop' and they are coming back tomorrow. She was awesome."

Just don’t ask about her meetings with Gadhafi!

Sergio, D.J. hit balls into Thames:

Because the only thing missing form the Olympics is sponsorship overload:

 

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July 23, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Adam Scott's name had been traced onto British Open's Gold Medal

Posted at 3:52 PM by Michael Rosengart

Adam Scott said all the right things following his dreadful collapse yesterday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, but it probably doesn’t make coming home without the Claret Jug any easier. Nor does this mistake that ESPN’s coverage caught in the aftermath:

Scottmedal

That screen grab, from Yahoo’s Jay Busbee, is an image of the Gold Medal that Open Championship victors receive in addition to a replica of the Claret Jug. Apparently, the R&A metal smiths had taken the liberty to trace Scott’s name in in preparation for engraving. Oops.

This Isn't the Football Pitch?

Carlos Tevez makes a living carrying soccer club Manchester City F.C as a striker. So what could the Argentinian superstar possibly be doing carrying golf clubs? Supporting compatriot Andres Romero at the Open Championship, reports The Daily Mail’s JJ Anisiobi:

Carlos said of his day: 'It was my first time at The Open and I enjoyed it but my shoulder is killing me.It’s much easier playing football than carrying that big bag around.'

The two men had a laugh as they made their way around the course and Carlos, who is an avid golf player in his spare time, picked all the right clubs for Andres to use.

He followed orders perfectly, unlike his days at Manchester City, and even pulled out a flag as his friend attempted a put [sic].

After Romero shot a 77 on Saturday to fall out of contention, Tevez visited the Memorial Tournament runner-up Saturday night asking for the loop. But Tevez was not nearly as useful on the golf course as he is on the football pitch, as his boss for the day finished in last place among players who made the cut.

We’re also still trying to figure out how you tip a caddy who makes $10 million a year.

A Break From Olympic TV

It’s nearly that time again when televisions across the world will be flooded by coverage of the Olympic Games, which are set to begin this week. After a weekend where golf was center stage, this can be a tough time for those of us who need our fix. But PBS brings some respite with “Golf’s Grand Design,” a new 60-minute documentary about American golf course architecture:

The program features interviews with ASGCA President Bob Cupp and fellow members Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye and Bill Coore, among many others.

Golf's playing fields have recognizable characteristics – fairways, greens, bunkers, and water hazards – but golf is the only sport played on a field with no specifically defined dimensions. "GOLF'S GRAND DESIGN" focuses on golf course architecture from the 1880s through present day and highlights some of America's best known and most influential courses.

The show airs Friday, Aug. 3 at 10 PM. And don’t worry, Olympic golf in Rio is just four years away. 

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