Likely anchoring ban a belly ache for some players

Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:12pm EST
 

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - With a widely expected ban on anchoring long putters likely to be announced by the game's ruling bodies on Wednesday, players have expressed sharply contrasting views ahead of this week's World Challenge.

While 14-times major winner Tiger Woods and putting supremo Steve Stricker are both in favor of such putters being outlawed, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley says he is "not happy" about the likely rule change.

American Bradley became the first player to win a major title using a long putter and has since been followed by compatriot Webb Simpson, at this year's U.S. Open, and South African Ernie Els, at the British Open in July.

"I'm obviously not happy with the ruling, but I respect the USGA (United States Golf Association)," Bradley told reporters at Sherwood Country Club on Tuesday while preparing for Thursday's opening round.

"They make the rules, and I'll adjust appropriately. I'm going to accept the challenge and hopefully do well when they do ban it.

"Players are very passionate about this decision. You've got some guys who have been using this style of putter for almost 20 years so it's a little bit of a scary position that they're in."

While the long putter itself is not expected to be outlawed when the USGA and the Royal and Ancient (R&A) hold a joint teleconference call on Wednesday, a ban on anchoring the club to any part of the body is expected to be announced.

The use of an extended putter seems to be totally at odds with the spirit of the game, but it has played a key role in reviving the careers of several players who have suffered from the yips, or the putting twitches.   Continued...

 
PGA golfer Steve Stricker answers a question about using a long putter during a media conference at the World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, November 27, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok