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« "Some recreational golfers can't play the game without a long putter. I think that would be a shame if they're going to take people away from the game." | Main | Snedeker: The Halloween Costume »

Now Ernie's Gut Tells Him Anchoring Ban Is Wrong?

Just a mini-flashback comment from Ernie Els before he won an Open using a belly putter: “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

And this week in China, as reported by James Corrigan:

Els, meanwhile, sought to debunk the myth over the “magical qualities” of the implement. “It’s not just about tucking it into your belly and you start holing putts,” he said. “A lot of work has to go into it to perfect your style. You still feel the nerves and you can still miss.”

The two ruling bodies have remained tight-lipped on the issue, saying only that the review continues. But two weeks ago, USGA officials met with four of the PGA Tour’s professionals — including the Ryder Cup captain Davis Love — to outline the details of the prospective ban.

Els still holds out a little hope they can convince the rule-makers to reassess. “This can become something they have to address again,” he said. “With all the pressure from players and media maybe they can further consider the issue.”

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Reader Comments (26)

Look, lets not kid each other- Els would have had zero chance to win that major without anchoring that putter to his gut.
None- his putting was shot.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjjshaka
Suing the game thats made them multi millionaires.Yep-thats the actions of really fine people.
Losing an awful lot of respect for Els here
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Indeed chico. If Els and Scott want to blame anyone then look towards the players who started putting with them even though they didn't have yippy hands.
c&c, what are the names of the longer-putter playing players on the Non-Yippy Hands List? So, in the beginning, if a player had been clinically diagnosed with a case of Yippy-Hands it was then OK to use a longer putter? Just trying to understand the protocol.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
It only became a problem when someone won a major. Three actually.
Broomsticks and their ilk have been around for 20 or more years. I don't like them, but I can see where Ernie, Scotty and others are coming from. If it's been good for more than 20 years, it's a little hard to see the problem now - aside from the "major" aspect.
It's not an advantage, if it was then everyone would be using them. How many in the top 20 on the putting stats use them? Or even the top 50?
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentermetro18
@metro 18 much too logical of a question to ask this group. The reality is that there's a segment who doesn't like the way it looks or feels that it disrupts the "purity" of the game, it's not a valid stroke, etc. There's another camp that doesn't care how it looks, thinks that it's fine because anything that makes the game a bit easier for some (I stress some) is good for the game, and isn't as particular or concerned about the purity of the game. These two groups will never convince the other that they are right. If it wasn't painfully obvious already, the cynical readership of this blog tends to favor the purity of the game (while they hit it 50 yards further than they did 10 years ago with their Pro V1x and 460 cc driver) and you'll just start a 50 response post with your logical question...
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentere9golf
@ DTF ... Mike Davis is on record as stating the only reason they haven't been banned long before now is because these putters tended only to be used by extremely yippy old farts and they didn't want to take away a method which allowed them to continue to play the game with some degree of comfort. In hindsight, clearly this was the wrong course of action. However, in so far as I'm aware, the governing bodies do not come equipped with crystal balls for it would have taken at least this for them to have anticipitated that fit, young, healthy, steady-handed professionals would turn to such an unprofessional crutch!

Thankfully, thusfar, few pros use these putters which is just as well because three of the last five majors have been won by players using a belly putter. That is the only statistic that anyone needs to take notice of. Bring on the ban!
I have the yips.I use a long putter.
They are MUCH easier to use for a yipper than a conventional putter-but it requires a fair amount of practise first.
Anchoring is not a proper stroke so I support a ban but I fully agree with all those who think there are bigger equipment issues than this.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
It strikes me that if the powers that be want get into this whole area, they have bigger fish to fry. For crying out loud, 46" drivers with a head the size of a calzone are distorting the game more than long handled putters. They real problem they have is that on a host of equipment issues, the horse has not just left the barn but died of old age.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Chico & C&C -

A loss of respect for Els is debatable in it's effectiveness but if the article is read, it's Bradley and Simpson who are threatening lawsuits not Els.

But whatever the timing or the wording, it is clear that belly-putting will become history – unless devotees such as Bradley and Simpson are successful with any legal challenge. “I believe they [the R&A and USGA] are going to have a couple of legal issues coming their way,” Els said. “We are talking about people’s livelihoods.”
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames H.
"Talking about people's livelihoods..."

These are some livelihoods. They are reserved for a talented few -- very, very few, considered among golfers worldwide. The reason they make such "livelihoods" is contingent upon them bringing to their pursuit a level of talent FAR in excess of the average participant in the activity. Just as many people worldwidfe sing, they cannot all occupy the opera houses (or even the rock arenas, though that's slightly more debatable) of the world. YOU HAVE STO BRING THE SKILL SET.

The golf organisations went wrong when they allowed this crutch in the first place. They are right to do away with it if they are to save the game. There are a few other changes needed, so let's get this one through and survive the experience so we can move on to more important stuff, like the ball, among others. By all means grandfather the damned thing so those so-called major winners can keep their honours. But get them off the course.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
@ James H ... once a good dose of reality is explained to them by hard-nosed (and, doubtless, expensive) lawyers, they'll soon dig out the short putters.

At the end on the day, the tour of which they are both members do not have to abide by the rules laid down by the governing bodies so, if they're going to to sue anybody, then surely it should be their own tour?
@ghillie - "They are right to do away with it if they are to save the game."

Seriously, I had no idea it was this desperate, that the game needed saving...

How about this... I'll give you the brand "golf", and you get to use any equipment manufactured before the year 1985. (hey, you get a little technology, maybe first generation Pings, a Tayormade driver, a nice orange top flite ball or even a balata if you want some feel)

I'll take the ability to play any equipment and putt with anything developed post 1985 and will call this game something new. I might even create a few 6 hole courses, invest in family friendly locations, and maybe even make the hole a bit bigger from time to time.

Then we can wager on which of our sports will be around in 20 years... I'm placing my bet on the one that's more fun.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentere9golf
c&c, where do I find these "on the record" comments by Mike Davis about "yippy old farts"? I'd like to read the exact quote/comment. Can you provide it?

In addition, in case you haven't figured it out already, elite tour players don't pay for anything! I will guarantee you some legal eagle that's buddies with Webb and Keegan is going to offer to get involved on their behalf on what is effectively a pro bono basis.

Feel free to set my opinion aside, but about a year ago one of the foremost experts in the world of golf writers, one Jaime Diaz, said:

Aug. 2011 -- Jaime Diaz..."Unless the ruling bodies want a fight even messier than the infamous Ping lawsuit, expect more long putters at the top of the game."

geoffshackelford (dot) com/homepage/2011/8/22/unless-the-ruling-bodies-want-a-fight-even-messier-than-the.html

This was also interesting from Jaime, just ran across it (Golf Digest Dec. 2011):

"According to the PGA Tour's new and first truly telling putting statistic--strokes gained on the field--players using long and belly putters are generally found in the bottom half of the rankings. Since 2004, the earliest year the statistic can be retroactively applied, the only three users to consistently crack the upper echelon have been Tim Clark, who ranked second in the category in 2007, Carl Pettersson, who was second in 2010, and Cink, who was third in 2006 and fifth in 2004. And here's the kicker: None of the young players whose recent victories raised the controversy ranked particularly high in 2011. Through the Tour Championship, Simpson ranked 47th, Haas 84th, Bradley 94th and Scott 136th. The highest ranked player using a long putter was Scott McCarron at 17th. The leader? Textbook-orthodox Luke Donald."

golfdigest (dot) com/golf-equipment/2011-12/belly-putters-history-diaz#ixzz2B5ynWZ00

Ol' Del has his opinions but Jaime Diaz is a Certified Expert and he says lawsuits are a comin'..... So put that in your pipe and smoke it.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
PEOPLES LIVELIHOODS!?! Laws, rules and regulations are changed every year in virtually every type of industry and service, and LIVELIHOODS are affected.

Get over it Ernie, and you 2 overpaid shits. Real jobs get whacked by new rules all the time, and life goes on.
11.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Ok DTF, I'll humour you just one more time. Incidentally, strange how you can be bothered to dig out stuff from Jaime Diaz but not comments from Mike Davis. Ho hum.

It isn't the putters that will be banned ... just the method of using them. So, not an equipment but rules issue. From what I can gather, the governing bodies have been looking at this issue for many years so players won't be able to claim they have completely been taken surprise by a change in attitude. I think you will also find (and you won't have to look too hard) that Mike Davis (USGA) was loathe to ban them originally as it would have denied those who really needed them the opportunity to extend their enjoyment of the game. Indeed, if I were a "yippy old fart" then I might be tempted to get together with other "yippy old farts" and sue Messrs. Simpson, Bradley & Co. for taking away my putting crutch!
C&C....You may have something there :)
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
c&c, just to clarify, the Jaime Diaz equipment lawsuit link/quote was prominently highlighted on this site. So, I remembered that and referred back to it. The process of revisiting the quote/story led me to the other Jaime Diaz information.

I have never seen a feature on this site (or anywhere else) that included "on the record" comments from Mike Davis about "yippy old farts", so I have no frame of reference or starting point from which to source the comments.

Bur apparently you do? Could you please provide these elusive "on the record" comments from Mike Davis? Would be appreciated...
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I back DTF on the Davis/yippy old farts find/lack of find. All I got googled up was THIS THREAD when I attempted several Davis searches with the matter at hand.

I did, however, find a really good link to some nice cheerleader pix.

Please post a link/links to Davis's statements. Please.
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Strewth digsouth ... I was paraphrasing Mike Davis. Go back and check the first time I used that phrase and you will note that I did not use quote marks. They came later when quoting myself.

Just for the record though, I do believe it was on this site that I first read of Mike Davis's reluctance to ban long putters. So, by all means, be my guest and 'troll' back through this site and take DTF with you!
"Mike Davis is on record as stating..."

Where? When? You're gonna write that and then are unable to provide any specific backup whatsoever?
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Don't look now!

golfdigest (dot) com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2012/11/could-keegan-co-have-a-case-against-the-pga-tour (dot) html

Could Keegan & Co. have a case against the PGA Tour?

As Rosenblum pointed out, cases against sports organizations -- like the recent one involving the NFL and "Bounty Gate" -- are becoming more common. Leagues and commissioner's can't just arbitrarily change/make rulings, but instead, must prove that there "is a nexus between the rule and the game and a need for the rule."

Rosenblum said that if a case like this ever went to court, it would probably be heard by a federal judge, "who doesn't care about the politics involved." Even if a trial were to be held in Jacksonville, Fla., the headquarters of the PGA Tour.

What could make that more complicated, however, is if golf's governing bodies decide not to make the ban across the board. For instance, what if established players like Bradley and recent U.S. and British Open winners Webb Simpson and Ernie Els could continue to anchor, while tour newcomers are forced to putt with a more conventional method? That seems unlikely, but as Rosenblum said, "It's amazing how decisions and compromises are made to keep things out of court."
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
This particular sentence is VERY interesting...

**Leagues and commissioner's can't just arbitrarily change/make rulings, but instead, must prove that there "is a nexus between the rule and the game and a need for the rule."**
11.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
''strewth digsouth''

strewth (struːθ)

— interj
an expression of surprise or dismay [from]

I can only assume you felt dismay, C&C

I will try to do better in the future, so you can ''strewth'' me from surprise. :)

Gosh, called on the carpet twice, and the day ain't over.
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
IF the USGA/R&A ban the anchored putter I don't believe it's a slam dunk that the PGA Tour would follow suit. Why get in a battle with some of your best up and coming young talent that undoubtedly will be the centerpiece of future marketing campaigns?

If anything, I anticipate this to be the decision that leads to bifurcation, putting methods first (allowing anchored putters versus USGA's ban), then roll back the golf ball (while the USGA keeps their head in the sand about the issue).
11.4.2012 | Unregistered Commentere9golf
All he did was say that there is still a skill to belly putting.
which there is, its just not as great a skill as regulation putting.

He also said people would take the change seriously - which they are (just not ernie)

he is stating true facts.

never did he say he is now against the change.

This is why people dont speak to the media I guesss?

Geoff you have something against Ernie?
11.5.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBruce

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