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Sunday
Feb172013

Faxon: PGA Tour May Urge USGA To Drop Anchoring Ban

Brad Faxon has penned an exclusive for golf.com/SI regarding a PGA Tour Policy Board conference call that Commissioner Bifurcation has convened Monday to discuss the proposed anchored putting ban.

Faxon is predicting that the Commish is gathering a consensus to urge the USGA and R&A to withdraw the proposed rule change.

The USGA and the R&A, the world's governing golf bodies, have an open comment period about the proposed rule change that concludes at the end of this month. If you're so inclined, try to influence the debate-send an email to the USGA, R&A or PGA Tour and let them know how you feel. That's why Tim is having his Tour Policy Board meeting on Monday. I believe he's going to try to persuade the board to that the Tour should urge the USGA to withdraw the proposed ban.

Faxon also feels the USGA won't back down.

In the end, I believe the USGA will not back off the proposed ban, and that the ban will be accepted on the PGA Tour. I have to think that the USGA anticipated this level of pushback from the Tour. But it really is also possible that the USGA will back down. It's so hard to know. This is completely unchartered territory.

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Reader Comments (32)

Sounds like the fat lady is getting ready to sing.......gonna get real interesting!
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Since when was golf democratic? The USGA and R&A have always done what they pleased. As my friend John says "They are not always right but they are rarely in doubt!" My two cents is anchoring is wrong and no one, repeat no one will quit playing because of the ruling. Get over it and get on to better bunker rakes.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Bigdad
Question is, if the Tour decids to oppose the proposed ban and the USGA doesn't back down, how will players react at 2016 US Open and beyond? The USGA makes the rules for the US Open - just as the R&A does for the Open Championship. So if the ruling bodies g ahead with the ban in 2016, you'll have the world's best players playing by two sets of rules every season.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentersteve pike
IF the pga tur comes out again (and says they won't accept it), the anchored putting ban becomes a game of chicken. I think (hope?) Finchem is to smart for that.

And if the pga tour does this & the usga/r&a cave, what does that say about their rule making power in the future? What if they wanted to roll back the balls, and the tour doesn't like it? Regulate drivers?
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
Elf, good points. Actually the USGA/R&A do want to roll back the golf ball, but are scared the potential lawsuits that would no doubt. Just a guess, but I'd say the Tour would fight the rollback if, for no other reason, it doesn't want to get caught in the litigation.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentersteve pike
I smell bifurcation
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMo
Mike Davis/USGA,

Please, please, please don't let them change your position.

You are making the right call for the good of the greatest game of them all.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
Elf,

Or what could be the escalation of a power struggle for control of the game - at last at the top level. The USGA/R&A only "rule" because entities such as the Tour and club companies let them. The USGA/R&A declared themselves the game's "ruling bodies" years ago and everybody has just follow along.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commentersteve pike
Finchem won't be happy this is in the public realm...makes it harder for him to waffle on his position now.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
Aside: I have got to get a new keyboard
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
As big a ''disser'' of the USGA as I am, I say hold your ground.

Women didn't get to vote, and often there was a chance to rectify that. When the call to change came, did some come out and say ''women haven't voted, why change it now?'' Yes they did, but women now vote, and it is a good thing. The analogy is far from perfect, but the list of change that came late in the race is long, and as I have said time and time again, the REASON the long club was not outlawed in the 1989-1991 study that was done, was to not embarass a POTUS, a move by the way, which I understand and support.

The last thing our counry needs is some 2 bit dictator saying our President cheats at golf, so how can he be trusted. Now however, the time has come.

Davis, do it, and then get a ''pro spec'' for PGA/Pro play- All the companies have them boxed and ready to ship. Let's end this million s of dollars ruining of golf courses, and if a n AM wants to lay the ''tour spec'' ball, do it. If an am wants to play a long putter, if everyone in his group is ok, then fine....

since golf cart are used on the senior circuit, then let them use the broomsticks. They play executive tees anyway.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I think I am beginning to feel vindicated.

Now, I don't much like the idea of the PGA Tour deciding that it will reject the USGA -- after all the thankless hard work that the USGA has done in regulating equipment, for the benefit of the PGA Tour among others.

But this effectively looks like the "reverse bifurcation" that I have been proposing on Geoff Shackelford's web page. My "reverse bifurcation" would be to start the anchoring ban in junior golf, now. Let it stay in place for a few years, and then step it up to all of amateur golf and the NCAA. And only then would it apply to the professional golf tours. In that way, no competitive golfer grows up relying on an anchoring method. The USGA gets years to experiment with the application and enforcement of the rule in unknown venues like the Western Junior and the AJGA. And after that, the Sunnehana and the North-South. And the Walker Cup and the NCAA Championships. We won't have any embarassing Rules kerfuffles over anchoring at the Masters, or the PGA Championship in the first year(s) the anchoring ban comes out of the box.

This is why I call it "reverese bifurcation." Bifurcation is a neutral term, but in golf we think of it as implying a harder standard for the elite players, and relaxed rules for recreational players. It would be an astonishingly perverse result, to have recreational golfers play under any harder set of rules than the Tour players.

But one other thing. No argument like this, in which Brad Faxon inserts himself, can ignore the fact that Brad Faxon has been a paid flunky of Acushnet, for years. It has made Brad Faxon rich. And Brad Faxon has long been an advocate in the ball debate. Faxon is not a neutral expert. He's a hired gun. I don't mind if anybody wants to listen to Brad Faxon. If he can make sense, more power to him. But he's essentially a paid advocate, for a client, and the client is Titleist. And Titleist has a very big axe to grind with the USGA.

Which raises an interesting question about the Masters, the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship. Indeed I suppose that the question might even to apply to the PGA Championship (which is a property of the PGA of America, and not the PGA Tour). And the question is this; if the Tour decides it will ignore a USGA anchoring ban, what will happen in the major championships, all of which are not run by the Tour? Steve Pike observed this same issue just above in his comments.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
The hell it is "unchartered territory." The USGA was ready to announce a resolution of the size of the golf ball split between the
USGA and R&A at the 1972 Open, The new ball, which had been built & tested, was to be l.66" in diameter. a tilt toward the USGA in the split between l.62" of the R&A and the USGA l.68'. On the eve of what was to be the USGA final internal vote on the issue Tour commissioner Joe Dey, who personally favored the creation of the i.66" ball, notified USGA President Lyn Lardner that
the players simply would not play a 1.66" ball (even though they couldn't tell the difference in tests). The players were surely
strongly influenced by ball manufacturers. That was the end of the l.66" ball.

Back inthe mid 60s the USGA & R&A created what was called the "continuous putting" rule in an effort to expedite play, The 1966 US Open, for instance, was played under the "continuous putting" rule. The tour used it too = for a time, then dropped it. Once that happened the USGA and R&A got rid of it too,

I have not seen a copy of Tour by-laws for years, but the critical operational point was that nothing of substance could be changed on the Tour without the approval of 3 of the 4 player members of the tour policy board, no matter what the other 6 members or the commissioner wanted/
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Hannigan
Definitely not territory to be chartered, never mind charted.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasaplayer
The USGA have become extortionists, they make an announcement, why not just make a ruling like they use to.

SOLD.....to the highest bidder....this ruling is for you.
What would happen to golf if all pro tours, the usga, the r&a ... all of 'em ... just went away away? would the game die? are these organizations that necessary? Or, would people just go out and play golf using their own rules, etc? What would happen? I say the game might thrive!
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterQuestioner
Mr. Hannigan, what about a ball like the Titleist Professional? Would that work for the Tour?
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ McAndrews
@elf

You could buy this one for $9.99 and use it to order a better one online.

http://www.staples.com/Gear-Head-107-Key-Windows-USB-Keyboard/product_943697
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
Questioner, 90% of baseball is played with no rule book. Lotta baseball going on.
02.17.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Me personally I hope " the Tour's man says 'We will not play that rule,' (and) the discussion is over"....
02.17.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
This will end badly.

Looking forward to March Madness and Florida swing.
Isn't this all getting rather late in the day for a PGA protest?
c&c, the PGA Tour will be issuing an edict, not a protest.
02.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF ... they can issue as many edicts as they like, there's no going back now. Any posturing from Finchem will amount to meaningless platitudes being dispensed to placate those about to be denied their crutch!
I'm certain that the PGA Tour will not create their own Rules or waive a Rule of Golf and allow anchoring. How weird would it be if anchoring was allowed on the Tour and then anchoring is banned at all 4 majors, the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, etc???

Its a done deal! The Rule is going into effect 2016 and I'm certain all Tours will follow (70/30 on the Champions Tour though).
02.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFLGolfer
FlGolfer: How can it be "done deal" when the discussion period is in over? And if the Tour goes against the ban, it wouldn't impact the President's Cup as it's a Tour-operated event, at least when it's held in the US.
02.18.2013 | Unregistered Commentersteve pike
Steve,

My opinion is that it is a "done deal". I think that the achoring Rule will go in effect in 2016 and all major tours will abide by the Rules of Golf as written jointly by the USGA & R&A.

The PGA Tour will not create their own set of Rules because they want to follow the Rules of Golf and they understand that if they didn't follow the Rules that the best players in world would have to jump back and forth between two sets of Rules when playing non-PGA Tour events (like the 4 majors). (Steve, this is all my opinion of course)
02.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFLGolfer
c&c, what I wrote above isn't my opinion per se, but rather the opinion of Frank Hannigan. I presume you are aware of who he is?

In case you missed it this what he said....the last sentence being the key sentence:

In point of fact, the rules-making process is remarkably democratic. There are 5 members of the committee proper drawn from the USGA executive committee. They have no axes to grind. They are influenced and to some extent educated by the USGA staff. Additionally, there are 4 advisory members representing the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the PGA of America and the country's regional golf associations. They matter. I can't conceive of the 5 regular members shoving a rules change down the throats of the advisory people.

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

--------------------------------

Personally I hope we get the chance to find out whether or not Mr. Hannigan has called it correctly ;0)
02.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I suppose if pgat decided to allow anchor, then they'll have to call the game something else other then golf.

professional ball sweepers association

PBSA
DTF ... the only thing one needs to know about Frank Hannigan is that he has a penchant for courting controversy.
So you have a better handle on the situation than Frank, that's your position?
02.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If the PGA tour refuses to go along with the ban then there is no point in the USGA/R&A to waiting to 2015. They should adopt the ban starting with this year's US & British Opens. End of story. If players don't want to give up there broom handles then they can simply sit out those 2 majors.
02.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfred jones

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