PGA of America says tougher rules could hurt game

Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:03pm EST
 

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Limiting how far the ball travels and the type of putters players can use could do more harm than good for golf, the PGA of America said on Tuesday.

The PGA of America, who is opposed to a proposed ban on players anchoring long putters to their body, feels making golf easier would grow the game and is ready to resist a possible move to reign in the distance golf balls travel.

"If you do anything that's going to cause the rank and file amateur player to not hit the ball as far, there's no way you're going to enhance their enjoyment of the game," PGA President Ted Bishop told reporters on Tuesday.

Golf's rulesmakers have not formally proposed dialing back how far a golf ball can go, but it has been something the United States Golf Association (USGA) has long pondered.

Bishop, whose eye is trained on increasing the popularity of the game, said he worried about the average player if such a rule were to be passed.

According to Bishop, the USGA has said controlling the distance of golf balls is something that may be worth exploring to help improve golf course maintenance costs and potentially lessen the amount of land required to build golf courses.

"I'm not so sure that's the greater issue we have to deal with," Bishop told Reuters. "This game is a hard game and anything we do to make the golf course play longer, play more difficult, is certainly going to deter from the enjoyment of the game for the average player."

A review process on the proposed anchoring rule by the USGA and the Royal and Ancient is set to continue through next February and if approved would be enforced from January 1, 2016.   Continued...