Heckling of Bradley for belly putter slammed by USGA

Sun Dec 2, 2012 1:43pm EST
 

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

THOUSAND OAKS, California (Reuters) - A fan's heckling of Keegan Bradley at the World Challenge has been slammed by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as an "unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator".

Bradley, who became the first player to win a major using a belly putter at last year's PGA Championship, was accused of being a cheater by a fan as he played the final hole in Saturday's third round at Sherwood Country Club.

"This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior," the USGA said in a statement before Sunday's final round of the 18-player event hosted by Tiger Woods.

"As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the rules of golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke.

"There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary."

Bradley has been among several players under the spotlight since Wednesday's proposal by golf's rulemakers to ban putters being anchored to a player's chest, stomach or chin.

The ban would not come into effect until 2016 at the earliest, and for the next three months both the Royal and Ancient (R&A) and the USGA will be seeking feedback on the proposal.

"We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator," the USGA said.   Continued...

 
Keegan Bradley of the U.S. tees off on the fifth hole during the third round of the World Challenge golf tournament in Thousand Oaks, California, December 1, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson