Anchoring ban proposal welcomed by most players at Sherwood

Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:29pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - Wednesday's proposal by golf's rulemakers for a ban on long putters being anchored to the body was mainly welcomed by players at this week's World Challenge, though some expressed disappointment.

In a bid to preserve the "skill and challenge" of putting, the Royal and Ancient (R&A) and United States Golf Association (USGA) said they wanted to outlaw the practice of anchoring by 2016.

While three of the last five major champions have used long 'belly' putters, the move by the game's rulemakers has been prompted mainly by the number of younger players now taking advantage of anchoring.

"I think it's in the best nature of the game," American Matt Kuchar, who uses a mid-length putter, told Reuters while preparing for Thursday's opening round at Sherwood Country Club.

"The game was not intended to be played that way (anchoring the putter). The game was intended to be played in a way that you control both ends of the club with every shot."

Intriguingly, Kuchar uses a putting stroke which would not be outlawed by the rulemakers' proposal since his putter rests against his left arm and not against his chest, stomach or chin.

The proposed Rule 14-1b states, in part: "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."

American Keegan Bradley, the first player to win a major using the anchoring technique when he triumphed at the 2011 PGA Championship, was among those unhappy about the likely change.   Continued...