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Instant Poll: When Should Anchoring Ban Start In Light Of Keegan Heckling?

Many have asked about the timing of the anchoring ban start should the Rules of Golf change become effective January 1, 2016 as the governing bodies expect.

There may be no better example as to why this could be too long to wait. Keegan Bradley said he was heckled Saturday at the World Challenge (Bob Harig reports) and common sense even before Keegan's claim says that belly putterers will now be treated differently if they continue to use a method headed for a ban.

Even before the incident, this poll question was in the works for Monday based on the most frequent reaction to the ban: why wait so long?

When should the anchoring ban start?  (Note: the October 7, 2013 option is the first event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour schedule. There is certainly the possibility that Commissioner Image Over Substance may consider expediting the ban to avoid having some of his players branded as cheaters.)

Full disclosure, I voted January 1, 2014 because (A) the Rules of Golf should not revolve around the PGA Tour, especially its product diluting year-round madness, and (B) this gives all golfers a year to adjust.

How soon should the anchoring ban be implemented for professionals? free polls 

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Reader Comments (30)


A blight on golf officials who have been sucked in by traditionalists. Any golf fan labelling Keegan a cheat should give themselves an uppercut.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterUnderTheChin
I wonder what the verdict will be for those players who win majors over the next three seasons with the anchoring teqhnique. What if Keegan wins the Grand Slam in 2015?
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
I would go with a date for the ban in the professional game not available in your poll: Jan.1, 2015. 2 years would strike a good balance between enough time for pros to adjust and getting the rule changed.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPJ
Hey ... no-one's forcing them to wait until 2016 to change. They can change to the shorties right now! Besides which, I think the governing bodies need this time to see if anyone comes up with a method that is legal but contravenes the spirit of the new rule and b) still have time to change the wording to deal with aforementioned sneaky method!
Personally, I do not feel Bradley or any other achorer's major is tainted and certainly do not think them ''cheats."
That said, I see no reason to delay institution of the rule, and in consideration of Hawkeye's comment, immediate enforcement may prevent heckling and undue adverse commentary if an anchorer wins during an ''adjustment'' period.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
"never" wasn't a selection. That is why i didn't vote.
moving the date because of a heckler makes less sense than banning it in the first place
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commentermdrgolf
What, we should be surprised? The stigma wasn't that hard to predict, Mr. Harig. Did you not know a delay in decisive action would result in the "Get in the hole!" crowd targeting the most vocal whiner to amuse themselves? C'mon, Bob. Even the well-behaved on this side of the pond believe clapping for a double is the right thing to do. And your colleagues weren't much help either. Keegan's Heimlich maneuver was dissected ad nauseam during the broadcast. But they did try to make the boo-boo feel better by informing viewers that Keegan went 3-for-4 from 10 feet on the practice green with Tiger's putter.

Hawkeye - All this will seem minor in a few weeks when we have to start soaking the Lutefisk!
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
This is gonna continue to be a train wreck thru the Masters so hopefully the networks that do more than golf make an exucutive decision to cut down on the long putter convos by the time Merion rolls around. For me the ban can't come soon enough...
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Oh, I hate anchored putting and I always have. Shame on the USGA for waiting so long. But to move up their planned date because of hecklers in a gallery? Come on.

Until somebody can tell me why it is a bad idea, I still like my "reverse bifurcation" rule. Ban anchored putting for juniors, moving up to NCAA and amateur golf later, and to the tours after that. In other words, let the rule follow the upcoming generation of competitive golfers. My rule would give Keegan Bradley something like 8 years to use his current method. But eventually, it would be a fading non-issue, since we'd be building a generation free of anchored putting.

It isn't such a curious formulation on my part, particularly in light of the USGA's own statement on the subject, wherein they were concerned about anchored putting being a learned technique among the youngest competitive golfers.

Mike Davis:
"Everyone who has followed the game of golf, particularly those who anchor their putter, are wondering why it has taken so long to make this proposal. For many years, it seemed as though the only players who anchored their putters were those who did so for health reasons or nerve reasons and the people who did were older players who sought to continue playing golf. Over time, younger players began anchoring their putters not for health reasons but instead because they felt that it was an easier way to make putts. The USGA and the R&A are looking to the future of the game and they do not feel that it is good for the game if younger players are being taught either through observing the world’s best or through lessons that it is better to anchor your putter than putt conventionally. No one can predict the future and looking back, it is quite possible that this proposal would have happened earlier if they knew how the use of anchoring would evolve."
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
I have found, in print, references to the Bush 41 usage of the PoleKat broom putter in 1989, and the manufacturers thanking him after Bush sent them thanks on his newfound putting success.

Mike Davis stated on his Morning Drive appearance last week, that The USGA ruled ‘’the club’’ legal ‘’in 1989’’, this around the 52nd minute of the broadcast.

I am trying to get current quotes from involved parties to support the contention I have long held that the USGA did NOT outlaw the anchoring/long putter, and in fact stated it ‘’legal’’, in 1989 due to not wanting to have a POTUS accused of ‘’cheating’’. Again I state, this was NOT a GOP or DEM situation, though it must have also crossed the USGA’s ‘’mind’’ that the ‘’Walker-Bush’’ name has a long history in the USGA.

This is not information from my long quoted references to the SI/Van Sickle article- this is all fresh references, some from articles in 1989 ( the Van Sickle article was in 1991)

Anyway..heckling is childish in golf. Too bad. I say make the change ASAP. As soon as mid year 2013.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Chuck's plan is a new twist, but I would rather see the PGAT just go ahead and enforce it starting this coming Jan 1st via a local/condition of competition rule. Better to rip off the Band-Aid quickly rather than a slow painful experience that gets dragged on and on.

And yes Keegan, it might hurt a bit at first, but you'll be fine. I say try putting with a wedge to get the hang of it at first, it's like a chipping stroke but you aim for the ball's forehead...and we know you can chip pretty good...major winners usually are.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnycz
The USGA feels compelled to release a statement based on a single, uncorroborated heckler at a silly season event? What a joke.
Keegan will have the short stick in the bag by Kapalua.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
Oh USGAaaaaa - I thought the ROG were supposed to mean something. Us lovers of golf know that anchoring a club does not a stroke produce (Yoda). But if you say that anchoring the club is allowed within the current ROG, why bother proposing a rule change now? Take some responsibility for your inaction. Otherwise, build some BS legalese into the rule change that goes something like this: "anchoring the club to any part of the body is not a stroke and will result in immediate disqualification of match or medal play, except when anchored below the elbow, or above the elbow, or to any part of the body, or if utilized by a PGA Tour golfer, or any golfer using the handle DTF, Del The Funk, or Del the Funky Homosapien.

I think we are going to see quite a bit more heckling of the 'cheaters' (oh, no he didn't). That said, why don't we see heckling of all the other 'cheaters' using 460cc drivers and pro v's?

Del, it's time you answer the question...... ''WHY NOW?''

You must have an opinion- we all want to know what you think,

My answer- It was not outlawed in 1989 when it was being considered being ruled out- the fact that it was ruled ''ok'' is proof that the question was being asked...and my reason it was ''oked'' remains the same-- the POTUS was using a broomstick, and to have outlawed it (as was the desired ruling) would have been an embarassment to the most powerful man on earth- not a good thing. And so why now..... because so many young players are beginning the game using the long putter- it is no longer in the 'fad'' category, and as anyone who is honest will admit- it is not a ''stroke''.

So Del, what are your thoughts on ''why now?''?

12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Keep in mind, that in 1989 the POTUS was a future golf hall of famer.

Read a fluff piece published a couple months ago where that POTUS was interviewed at home. Turns out, he hasn't had anything to do with politics since his term ended, never offered his boy(s) any poli advice, and isnt involved in the family business(es). He just likes to watch a little tv, and teach the grand- and great grand kids how to tie flies. Besides, his old lady is the outspoken one with all the opinions. Thinks his legacy is one of honesty and that the people of the world have greater love and compassion for each other because of his leadership.

Yep, we are so lucky to be enjoying that legacy, and also the legacy of using a dishonest, anchored stroke. Wait, doesn't that negate the honesty legacy? Let's just call it a legacy*.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterUbb

I do not want to steer this thread into any political discussion, as I have a pretty reasonable overview of several from both sides of the aisle....and while he wanted to stay out of his boys bidnes, and his wife is the pants of the family....the story is more than that- and so a ''fluff' piece seems to be a perfect description of the article.

While he was also a future HOFer, he also had a remarkable family tie to the USGA.

For the sake of the regulars who are sick of hearing me rant on about this, I'll end with this: I feel like I am in position to have some very good support for my contention, and I am working on having first person verification, and *man would that be a long time coming*.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
digger, simple answer ;-)

Simply, "they" don't like the way it looks.......matter of aesthetics. Been the case all along, nobody in a position of power has had the balls to say so.

Hope you are feeling ok my man!
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Del- Been doing ok; thanks for asking- and I wish you and yours very Merry with all the yada yada going on.

Yes- you have the correct answer, and I have provided the answer that they use to buffer, and the one which allows it to be ''beyond looks'' that is-te young uns are doing it (and it don't look right)
12.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
digger, I don't agree with the decision but having said that, if they are gonna put the rule in place at least have the balls to step up and enforce it January 1, 2013.

Is there already an "interpretation" being considered for "chinning" ? Just kinda heard that through the grapevine.

Also, with a "standard" length putter the "claw grip" is legal, as are anchoring elbows and/or forearms to the body....but what if I use reg length putter, the claw grip, anchor the elbow and/or forearm, and happen to have a little follow-thru/wrist-break as a part of the stroke?

I think this is gonna get ugly....
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
PS....digger, never gave a thought to thesis that they "didn't ban it because Sr. Bush was a user"...but crazier things have happened. All that being said, thinking that thesis is a load!

PPS...Phil the Author, are the mounds around the green on current #8 of BP Green similar to the "within the green" contours that are being restored within #12 at GCGC? Both D.E. courses....similar looking mounds, but not as extreme at Lenox Hills as is the case at GC...but danged if that postage stamp doesn't look like it was about 8-10 yards wider about all the way around the green!!
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
How is this any different when square grooves were banned for the pros? PGA pros still played with them until the rule changed (the end of 2010 if I recall correctly) and weren't heckled, but it wasn't as obvious as a broomstick putter.

Many amateurs still use square groove wedges,I bought a whole bunch of the old Vokey square grooves, and according to the ROG I can use them for another decade. Am I cheating? No.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWayne
Been paying way too much attention to this Game for way too long, and I think Digs is exactly right on the long putter, Poppy Bush, and the USGA. I also remember the chatter at the time, pretty much pre-interwebs when sources were few. No way was the USGA going to rain on a President's speed-golf parade who was a Republican with the name G.H. WALKER (as in Cup) Bush. A letter from Saugerties might enlighten us, though.
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
The GHWB angle is interesting, and may well be true.
@D.Maculata: I'll pass on the lutefisk, but I did spend Sunday afternoon making rice porridge and meatballs!
12.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Never. If it has worked for 30 plus years, it ain't broken. If it ain't broken, it doesn't need fixing. Leave it just as it is. The governing bodies have a lot more things to be concerned with. Costs, pace of play, etc, etc., etc.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLes Lubyanka
The only long handled thing in golf that should be against the rules is the bunker rake. Long handled putters do not provide an advantage, but may speed up play. Bunker rakes give the golfer an advantage and make the course look bad. Long handled bunker rakes save stokes , but long handled putters do not. Punish bad ball strikers and not bad putters.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Doctor
"Long handled putters do not provide an advantage, but may speed up play."

Now there's a provocative assertion. How do long putters speed up play? My purely unscientific and anecdotal observation is that guys who use broomsticks are usually slow players. You don't have to agree with me but could you please supply the evidence that they speed up play?
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Chuck, ever see a guy yip 3, short putts in a row?
Tends to slow things down!!
12.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat Burke
NEVER. No less an authority than Ben Hogan (the USGA has a room named after him even) said there is no relationship between putting and playing golf. Nicklaus' putting looked nothing like a golf swing. No on on earth puttl like they swing. If the USGA is concerned about tradition than let's ban toaster sized driver heads, non-staff blade irons, any wedge with more than 48 degrees of loft, hybrid clubs, and high MOI putters. Every one of these is an affront to the tradition of the game and each takes an element of nerves out of a given shot.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrmp
LOL Pat Burke...AND it's easier to get one "inside the leather" w/ the long some social circles of course.

Your post about hooking and chunking w/ the belly putter the other day were great BTW. I had a similar experience on anything longer than 30 feet about 8 yrs ago when I had an open mind about lasted about 30min tops.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
never. i have spoken to my group of 20 or so that play on saturdays and the 5 of us that use belly putters have all stated we will continue to use and have NO plans not to.
12.3.2012 | Unregistered Commentermikew

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