Ban on anchoring putts proposed from 2016
By Martyn Herman
(Reuters) - Golf's rulemakers proposed a ban on players anchoring long putters to their body on Wednesday, saying they wanted to outlaw the practice by 2016 in order to preserve the "skill and challenge" of putting.
Broomhandle or belly putters, pioneered by 2002 European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance among others in the late 1980s, are often tucked under the chin, against the chest or stomach.
They are swung in a pendulum fashion, helping to reduce the effects of nerves when lining up a putt.
The proposal by the Royal and Ancient (R&A) and United States Golf Association (USGA) will be discussed by players and the golfing community before being implemented.
Three of the past five major winners have used belly putters but the governing bodies say putters should swing freely and not be anchored to any part of the body.
Some players such as 2011 USPGA champion Keegan Bradley, the first player to win a major using the anchoring technique, have already voiced their displeasure.
Announcing the proposal in a telephone conference, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said they had acted because so-called anchoring had become the "preferred option" for many players.
"Our objective is to preserve the skill and challenge which is a key component of the game of golf," Dawson said. Continued...