Looming putter ban a belly ache for some

Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:59pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - Less than a year remains before PGA Tour players have to accept a ban by golf's rulemakers on long putters being anchored to the body and Tim Clark is among those who expect "some challenges along the way."

South African Clark has been using the anchored technique for 17 years, and the same putter for more than a decade, and he was vocal in his opposition to the proposal when it was first suggested in December 2012.

The PGA Tour also expressed initial disagreement with the move but later fell in line with the Royal & Ancient and United States Golf Association, acknowledging that the ban on anchored strokes would apply to its events from Jan. 1, 2016.

Several PGA Tour players who have been regularly using either belly or 'broomhandle' putters have already started experimenting with the shorter versions but Clark plans to stick with his long putter for most of this year.

"Maybe there's a tournament where I'm dead-last playing on Sunday and I might do something, but it's not really a move I want to do this year," Clark told Reuters while competing in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort.

"But at some point, I'm going to have to do it because you don't want to come out cold turkey next year and start using a new putting technique."

Clark, who uses a long putter with the top of the shaft pressed against his chest and his hands spread well apart, has a good idea of how his technique will change for next year but he was not prepared to divulge details.

"I'm not going to tell you just in case they try to ban those," 39-year-old South African grinned.   Continued...

Tim Clark of South Africa tees off on the fifth hole during the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament in Shanghai November 9, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song