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« Lydia Ko: Opens With 63 In Australian Open | Main | Cordevalle To Get 2016 U.S. Women's Open »
Wednesday
Feb132013

Els On Anchoring: "There's no data that really confirms that they have to ban it."

Ernie Els had some interesting things to say about the proposed anchoring ban on the eve of the Northern Trust Open:

Q.  The comment period for the anchoring ban is about to wrap up, and I'm wondering if anybody from the USGA and R&A reached out to discuss it with you, and if you have any input at this point as the days are about to wrap up on the comment period.

ERNIE ELS:  Well, as you know, you know, I was against it about ten, 12 years ago when my good friend, Trevor, played with it.  I kind of say ‑‑ I said it in jest but I have to stick with what I said back then.  Then ten, 12 years later, I'm using it.  So kind of contradicted myself a little bit if you want to take it like that.

But I've putted great with the short putter.  I wouldn't say that I'm putting exceptionally great now with the long putter.  But I'm starting to feel comfortable.  I've been on it now for the whole year and obviously won a major with it.  It's helped me from short range a lot.  But still, it's not like it's automatic.  You're not just going to stick it in your belly and make every putt you look at it.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to learn that way of putting.

So I'll be, as I said before, they are going to make their decision; whether the TOUR goes along with it, whether they don't, we'll see.  But hopefully they don't ban it, because I don't think ‑‑ I really don't think that it's that big of a deal to really look at the data, there's no data that really confirms that they have to ban it.

If there were 90 percent of the guys using it or if the guys using it were top of the putting ranks, guys making more putts from 20 feet, more putts from four feet; give me something to go by to really make me believe that you have to ban it; then ban it.   But I can't see them having a really great way of explaining to me why they would want to ban it.

And...

Q.  Do you think we are having this discussion if you don't win The Open? 

ERNIE ELS:  That's a good question.  Because in all honesty, you know, before Webb Simpson won, you guys correct me if I'm wrong here, but I saw a quote of Mike Davis saying that they don't see the great benefit, or there's a line that he used; that they don't see that there's any importance of banning the putter.

And then Webb wins and I win, and then the next thing is, you know, they want to ban the putter.  So in all honesty, I'm not too sure what their whole reason is behind this whole thing, because as I say, there's a handful of guys using it.  It's helped some careers.  Some guys cannot putt another way, so there's some stuff that you have to follow through.

But I truly believe, I think because of those last two majors, going with Webb and going with myself, I think that had a huge influence in their decision.

Els has a point if you look back at these August, 2011 comments made by Davis on The Golf Channel.

And there was this...

Q.  How do I feel do you think it will be to adjust to going back to the shorter putter if you have to?

ERNIE ELS:  You know, I think I'll be okay.  I like using this quote, won 69 events and 68 of them with the short putter, so my event is not bad.  I went through a pretty rough spell there in 2011 where I really had some problems on the greens.

But I think with the work I've done with the belly and so forth, I think I'll be fine.  I'll take back the memories from when I putted with that PING Anser putter winning those majors with making clutch putts.  I've done it before and there's no reason why I can't do it again.

So I'm just thinking, you know, about the long‑term deal of this thing.  If they ban it now, they take a way of putting out of the game where guys would love to play the game in a fun way.  You take a way of playing the game out of their hands, you know, it's kind of unfair when it's been part of the game now for a long time.  And to take it away now, it seems a little unfair.

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Reader Comments (17)

I think banning the belly is not good, but banning the long putter, which is basically what they will doing is even worse. Much easier for a belly putter to put with a short putter than to make a long putter switch. I find it very hard that a long putter will putt very well with out their arm or hand anchored on their body.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
Too bad Ernie didn't advocate for the long putters when he could have. It kind of reminds me of a quote from Army of Darkness. "First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me, .....****".

There is still hope the PGA Tour will do the right thing here but I am not holding out a lot of hope.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterh2o-boy
Be honest Ernie, the last few months before you switched you couldn't putt it into the ocean from a short pier. No way you win the Open without anchoring.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Ernie Els won the open because he hit 79% of the greens in regulation. Number one in the field. The best he ever did was 29 putts and that was in the first round. He had 30 in the fourth round. 31 in the second and 32 in the third. You can't seriously claim that his putter won him that tournament.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterh2o-boy
lot of noise about nothing, the change has been made, get over it
That is completely incorrect. We are currently in the discussion period. The change HAS NOT BEEN made yet. And the rule itself wouldn't take place until Jan. 1st 2016, if it is approved.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterh2o-boy
WAAAAaaaaa!

I am losing respect for you very rapidly, EE.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Isn't it funny how all of a sudden the golf world is starting to catch on that teflon Don himself, Mke Davis, wants to do whatever he wants in all aspects of the game. This guy thinks he's a golf course architect-redesigning every US Open course he can get his hands on when he turns par 5's into par 4's and changes 430 yard holes into drivable par 4's(World class hole number 5 at Pinehurst #2 is next-he thinks it should be a par 5). He thinks he's a greens super-turning already firm playing surfaces into concrete driveways with purplish brown grass on them by the end of the week. And he thinks he can single handedly tell golfers all over the world what they can use, especially if he doesn't like the way it looks-like the belly putter. I think the golf world is catching on to what many inside the USGA already knew about this guy. He is the ultimate control freak who thinks he knows everything. Very dangerous dude IMO.
02.13.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ McAndrews
@ J McAndrews agree with your comments - game has larger problems than belly or long putters - Davis is a control-freak gone wild - not sure how he got so much control - the suits must have been taking an afternoon nap and left the door open - What he as done to Pinehurst #2's fifth hole is a crime - Nicklaus always said the fifth hole was the best hole on the golf course - guess Davis knows more than Jack - how about playing back-to-back Opens (men and womens) on the ffamous #2 course in 2014? want to talk aboust stupid, now that is stupid? Davis and his suits are recruitng 6700 volunteers in Pinehurst where the average age is well past 65 to work both events back-to-back in the middle os the summer heat - the golf course may never recover if he takes the greens to the edige as he is known to do - the poor women can't get on the course until Tuesday following the men's open finish on Sunday - Now that's equality, getting the men's leftovers (golf course after 7 days of practice and tournament play) on which to play the women's most important championship local USGA staff already shaking their heads
Does anyone seriously believe (including Els!) that he'd have won The Open using the short putter?
We will never know. The crime was that they allowed it in the first place. How long did it take them to say "no more"? Crazy. Bigger issues in the game than a putter grip stuck in a guy's belly button. They permit all types of milled-faced or grooved putter faces to promote more "roll' on the ball - and perfectly balanced face-balanced putters too. Goose neck, plumber's neck, center-shafted, rear-shafted...........Hard to believe the belly button got so much attention.
Yes! There are many issues to be addressed in golf.

One of them is anchoring. Get rid of that and we have one less issue.

Move on to the ball, etc.etc.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
God wants Webb to putt with a real putter, not a broom.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Here is the media stirring up the anchoring issue again just as the issue started to settle.

If anchoring was banned 20 years ago it wouldn't have been an issue. Only because a percentage of golfers (not the majority) now anchor is it an issue.

While the decision was made late, it is the right one in my opinion.

Many people suggest rolling the ball back in regards to distance, but then they argue that it is too late to ban achoring. How is that a valid arguement??
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFLGolfer
The Tour representative, named by Finchem, especially matters. For better or worse, the Tour has come to have something close to veto power,particularly when it comes to equipment. If there is a discussion about a rules change and should the Tour's man says "We will not play that rule," the discussion is over.

Frank Hannigan
Saugergties, New York
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSergeant Carter
If theTour really did have the final word on a rules change then I don't believe anchoring would be getting banned in 2016.

Yes, strictly speaking this is a method ruling but the ruling is also closely linked to equipment and, perhaps I've picked up on Finchem wrongly but I got the distinct impression from one of his comments that the pga tour wasn't totally hostile to anchoring.
Not exactly on topic, but I've been wondering about face on putting. I have fooled around with it a couple of times. So if my left forearm rests against my body is that an anchored stroke? If I have my elbows and forearms against my body with my hands low it is permissible per the picture guide, if I leave my elbows exactly in that position but lift my hands high am I now braced? What if I only go waist high?

Not that it matters to me personally, for one I putt traditionally now, although I used a long putter for two years after a serious back injury and the practice made me a way better putter even when I switched back, 2. I don't play in any club events because who has time to spend 6 hours playing behind an engineer who laser triangulates the exact yardage to the pin for every shot, and 3. My group plays with only two rules have fun and play quickly.
02.15.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

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