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.
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.