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Wednesday
Jan302013

Tim Clark, Lead Anchoring Ban Victim Advocate

Doug Ferguson tells the tale of Tim Clark's apparently impressive appearance at the PGA Tour non-mandatory mandatory player meeting held at Torrey Pines last week.

Geoff Ogilvy had this to say about Clark's questions and comments of USGA officials Mike Davis and Glenn Nager, comments which players generally refused to elaborate to Ferguson about:

"He's been researching this the whole offseason," Ogilvy said. "He basically put his position out there, and probably positions that Mike hadn't thought about or didn't acknowledge as importantly as Tim saw them.

"What Tim did achieve ... whether he had any effect on the USGA position, a big portion of the ambivalent people were on Tim's side when they walked out of the room."

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Reader Comments (28)

From another website 4 days ago
Dave C caddie says:
My impression- The PGA Tour will allow the current sets of equipment and current uses (anchoring). One cannot allow a use, for years, and then Dis-allow it. We’re talking about records in the books, real life players earning a living. To redefine a putting stroke after 100 years is foul. I’m not endorsing the anchor style, just sayin’
#2- They will be open to lawsuits, from manufacturers, and then players. Allowing manufacturers to make an implement, and then say its illegal is meat for lawyers.
#3- Here’s a stretch, but Americans w/Disabilities Act may come into play. If a player who clearly has “yips” from years of playing, resulting in neural pathway destruction, who then contends with medical evidence that he can putt and make a living with the long, anchored putter, may be able to argue under the ADA that this would be a “reasonable accomodation”, exactly the type of situation the ADA addresses. Lawyers and scholars knew Casey Martin was going to win, golfers didn’t think he had a chance.
Read what Dave C caddie said above about Casey Martin and this is about Clark:
He has a genetic condition that keeps him from turning his forearms and wrists inward. Clark has anchored the long putter to his chest for about as long as anyone has seen him play. Despite the physical limitations -- Clark has never ranked higher than 140th in driving distance -- he has won THE PLAYERS Championship, Australian Open, Scottish Open and twice the South African Open.
There is no doubt that this anchoring ban is a red herring to avoid the issue of long balls.
I still don't yet understand why he can't make a stroke unless it's anchored. He says himself that it's the shoulders that makes the swing. It's not as though he can't still use a long putter.

Anyone?
"There is no doubt that this anchoring ban is a red herring to avoid the issue of long balls."

CM ... where is your proof that the govering bodies are not addressing this issue?
Re Tim Clark anchoring issue:

... never mind swing a golf club and hit a solid object with force.
Who putts with his hands and forearms turned inward? I can't see his condition as anything other than a huge advantage in all areas of the game other than chipping and bunker play, where he clearly has issues.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
"He spent his own money to get here and back for something he cares about." Okay, Lucas. Thanks for that bit of insight. Don't forget to pass the hat among all the belly & long brothers to ease the pain of his sacrifice.

I was thinking ADA way back when too, Collin. But the "reasonable accommodation" part of it only guarantees the ability to perform the work required. Whether you earn a living or not depends on your lifestyle.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Equipment manufacturers have no cause to sue.
They have not banned the long putter-merely refined the definition of stroke.
Unleash the hounds! ... err lawyers. I'm sure Titleist, Ping, TM, Callaway, etc. are salivating at the chance to eat away at the USGA's/R&A's spine or at least their deep coffers...this could get ugly.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
The Tim Clark and Casey Martin situation have zero parallels. Essentially in the Martin decision the Supreme Court ruled that walking was not part of playing golf, and therefore the PGA Tour had to make reasonable accomodations for him to play. Putting is part of playing golf, therefore the ADA does not apply
01.30.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Colin thanks for the posts. I do agree that Tim Clark could seek an ADA accomodation with reasonable expectation of winning. I think it would be a stretch for the younger players to claim their neural pathways are ruined since some of them have always played the long putter. Maybe they just can't putt. However the older players (Els, Singh) could use statistics to show how their games deteriorated on tour.

I think the Tour is going to put together local rules and have a system to allow anchored putters in PGA Tour events. I wonder what the Masters will do?
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H.
I saw Elf's post right after I uploaded mine.
I'm not a lawyer, I am not sure that Tim Clark would have to go to court, just to Tour HQ. With a persuasive argument.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt H.
Champion's Tour will allow anchoring, PGA Tour - no way. Even if they wanted to do so, Major Championships (except possibly the PGA) would not do so, creating a huge mess for the players. So they won't do it. I'm not an attorney, but I don't see how Tim Clark has any chance of a lawsuit against the USGA or anyone else. Are they not in charge of the rules of the game ? When the NFL changes the rules associated with pass interference, can guys that are too slow that relied upon smashing the WR at the line sue due to the ADA ? No, and Clark will not be able to successful do so either.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
What would Clark's response be if they said - just do what you are doing now, but you can't rest your left hand / arm against your chest - you have to have it out there in space ? Is that theoretically a possible stroke that passes muster with the new rules and that Clark could physically perform ? The fact that it would make putting harder than today and as a result he might not sink many putts using that method I think is irrelevant. Has Clark tried the "claw" grip that Phil has used ? How about the Kuchar style ? All would conform and he could possibly use them -again, maybe not well, but he could play the game that the USGA is going to require all players to play.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The long putter has not been banned therefore the equipment manufacturers will not be able to sue.
All they have done is redefine the stroke.Cant see a court upholding an action that says a governing body cant set the rules
01.30.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
You da man, chico. Case closed.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
BrianS, I think Phil's claw grip is borderline illegal if his left elbow is in contact with his side...
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
"The long putter has not been banned therefore the equipment manufacturers will not be able to sue."

point well taken...but why do I get the feeling lawyers are going to be in the middle of this anyway?
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Mike Davis may be the most controlling leader that golf has ever known. From what I've heard he is the reason the USGA decided to go with the ban and convinced his board. I have never seen a guy(TF is close) that is so convinced that he knows everything about everything concerning golf. He has fooled lots of folks. A real piece of work.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterI'm Johnny
I'm surprised Tim Clark hasn't been on the receiving end of seemingly unending overt and personal hostilities like what was directed at Carl Pettersson -- why the difference??
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Hi carnaptious and camsteerie
you asked "where is your proof that the govering bodies are not addressing this issue?" when I said "There is no doubt that this anchoring ban is a red herring to avoid the issue of long balls."
I didn't suggest they weren't addressing the issue, but they are delaying what they are doing for anchoring:
Get the issue out there, suggest a strategy- in this case a draft rule change, ask for comments from pros, get comments from journalists.
When do you think they will do this for balls? If ever?
DTF, am just waiting for the signal to get started....
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
Maybe we could play Tim Clark Bingo!

-crutch
-pillsbury
-cheater

What else?!?

JFTR, Tim Clark has 1 win that *counts*.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF - give it up! Nobody is going to bite.
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
On what?
01.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Thanks for your response CM.

I don't think it's appropriate to compare the anchoring situation with ball length. Quite apart from anything else, one is a rules issue whilst the other, equipment.

With the benefit of hindsight, anchoring ought to have been banned when it first came out. Trouble was, it gave a lifeline to those who suffered from the yips ergo a blind eye was turned. I think it also ought to be remembered that the belly putter came out later by which time anchoring had established itself within the yipping community via the broom handle. It certainly never occurred to anyone back then that anchoring would ever become 'mainstream' so I think criticism of the governing bodies has been unduly harsh. I think if anyone ought to sue, then yippers united should sue Keegan Bradley et al for denying them legal use of the anchoring method post 2016!

In so far as the ball situation is concerned, are they delaying? Delaying what exactly? Haven't the ball and driver thing been maxed out? In any event, what's to stop the pro tours introducing a shorter competition ball of their own volition? Provided it passed muster then surely this decision lies with them and not the governing bodies? Of course, if you're looking for red herrings, then perhaps you ought to be looking in the direction of ball manufacturers who might not like the idea of their product being 'reduced' at elite level.
Thanks for your response CM.

I don't think it's appropriate to compare the anchoring situation with ball length. Quite apart from anything else, one is a rules issue whilst the other, equipment.

With the benefit of hindsight, anchoring ought to have been banned when it first came out. Trouble was, it gave a lifeline to those who suffered from the yips ergo a blind eye was turned. I think it also ought to be remembered that the belly putter came out later by which time anchoring had established itself within the yipping community via the broom handle. It certainly never occurred to anyone back then that anchoring would ever become 'mainstream' so I think criticism of the governing bodies has been unduly harsh. I think if anyone ought to sue, then yippers united should sue Keegan Bradley et al for denying them legal use of the anchoring method post 2016!

In so far as the ball situation is concerned, are they delaying? Delaying what exactly? Haven't the ball and driver thing been maxed out? In any event, what's to stop the pro tours introducing a shorter competition ball of their own volition? Provided it passed muster then surely this decision lies with them and not the governing bodies? Of course, if you're looking for red herrings, then perhaps you ought to be looking in the direction of ball manufacturers who might not like the idea of their product being 'reduced' at elite level.
Fair enough Colin.

I don't think it's appropriate to compare the anchoring situation with ball length. One is a rules issue and the other, equipment. Besides which, look at the brouhaha that’s kicked- off since the anchoring announcement was made.

With the benefit of hindsight, anchoring ought to have been banned when it first came out. Trouble was, it gave a lifeline to those who suffered from the yips ergo a blind eye was turned. I think it also ought to be remembered that the belly putter came out later by which time anchoring had established itself within the hand-challenged community via the broom handle. It certainly never occurred to anyone back then that anchoring would ever become mainstream so I think criticism of the governing bodies has been unduly harsh. I think if anyone ought to sue, then yippers united should sue Keegan Bradley et al for denying them legal use of the anchoring method post 2016!

In so far as the ball situation is concerned, are they delaying? Haven't the ball and driver thing been maxed out? In any event, what's to stop the pro tours introducing a shorter competition ball of their own volition? Provided it passed muster then surely this decision lies with them and not the governing bodies?

Of course, if you're looking for red herrings, then perhaps you ought to look in the direction of ball manufacturers who possibly don’t much like the idea of their product being 'reduced' at elite level.

Mind you, it might be “fun” to watch today’s professionals try to hit a Dunlop Warwick!

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