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Ernie Els would be one of those who would have to go back to a regular putter if the anchoring rule goes into effect. Keegan Bradley would be another.
Ernie Els would be one of those who would have to go back to a regular putter if the anchoring rule goes into effect. Keegan Bradley would be another.

Golf's governing bodies in a bind over the anchoring rule

Based on feedback received from tour players about the proposed and controversial anchoring ban, the US tour appears poised to protest the forthcoming rule, which was to be placed on the books in 2016, explains Steve Elling.

Historically, the US PGA Tour has left the game's adjudication to the US Golf Association and Royal & Ancient, governing bodies entrusted with steering the ship. Albeit very slowly, at times.

The long-time passengers might soon commandeer the ship.

Based on feedback received from tour players about the proposed and controversial anchoring ban, the US tour appears poised to protest the forthcoming rule, which was to be placed on the books in 2016.

If enacted, no longer would players be allowed to use a body part as a fulcrum in a putting stroke, as have several recent major championship winners: Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Keegan Bradley.

It could set the stage for more bifurcation, wherein professionals play by a different set of rules than amateurs.

Few believe it is the ideal scenario, but unless the USGA and R&A back down, the tours could green light the use of belly and broom putters regardless of what the governing bodies say.

If the rule makers rescind the proposal, it is a black eye for their reputation. Bad news, either way, if it plays out as expected.

It might be time to consider two sets of rules. After all, nobody tells the National Football League or the National Basketball Association how to interpret the rule book. They write their own laws and modify them continually.

Top-tier golf professionals clearly play a different game, using specialised equipment most civilians cannot purchase. Maybe it is time that an autonomous rule book reflects the disparity, too.

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