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FYI: If The PGA Tour Rejects Anchoring Ban, Those Pesky "Other Issues" In Game Won't Get Dealt With Either

Since late November, I've been thrilled to read the nearly universal reaction to the USGA and R&A's proposed anchoring ban: really, aren't there bigger issues like the distance explosion and its side effects to deal with?

Shoot, the USGA's Mike Davis even predicted in 2011 would be the reaction if such a ban was ever put in place.

So when I read Rex Hoggard's report on the Player Advisory Council conference call Monday in which one member says "everybody" on the call was against the ban--a point PAC member Joe Ogilvie Tweeted was a false statement by Hoggard's source--this next quote from the source just amazed me.

“He gave everybody a chance to say their opinion,” the PAC member said. “The best point one guy made was there are a lot of other issues than this one to be concerned with.”

That's right, and do these men understand a rejection of the anchoring ban would neuter the governing bodies and virtually gurantee that any discussion of those "other issues" is off the table?

FYI for those of you wondering, here is the 16-member PAC for 2013:

2013 Player Advisory Council

Aaron Baddeley* (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Jason Bohn (Acworth, Ga.)
Andres Gonzales* (Olympia, Wash.)
Jeff Gove (San Marcos, Calif.)
Charley Hoffman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Doug LaBelle II* (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Scott Langley* (Jupiter, Fla.)
Davis Love III (Sea Island, Ga.)
Joe Ogilvie (Austin, Texas)
Geoff Ogilvy (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Ryan Palmer* (Colleyville, Texas)
Webb Simpson (Charlotte, N.C.)
Brendan Steele* (Irvine, Calif.)
Kevin Streelman (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Bo Van Pelt (Tulsa, Okla.)
Mark Wilson (Elmhurst, Ill.)

*Indicates first-time PAC member

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Reader Comments (45)

Having the players involved in the decision making is the entire problem, particularly because of what's down the road with the "other issues". I'm pretty sure these guys won't want anything to do with equipment ceilings/rollbacks since they're being paid to showcase the latest and greatest. This is the entire point of HAVING a USGA. The PGA Tour and R&A are cutting off their nose to spite their face on everything going forward.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike U (LA, CA)
So what you are saying basically: "Sure, the usga is a useless bunch of blue blazer, blue blood losers who have stupidly allowed the juiced golf ball to ruin the game. And, then instead of rolling back the ball, they take away anchoring and pick a fight with the pga and the pga tour. So, good people everywhere should support the usga against the tour so the usga will retain its strength to roll ball the ball.....which they haven't done and likely never will."

Did I have that right?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Joe, you forgot to mention the dandruff on the blue blazers. Geoff likes mentioning that part best.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Elling
Is it considered any sort of conflict of interest to have players who use the long putter to sit and make a determination or take a vote on the issue of a ban?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill
I was wondering that too, Will.
Havent been following too intensely recently, but let me get that straight - so the Tour guys are allowed to have Anchoring in the future whilst the amateur isnt?


Now WTF is wrong with that. If anything lit should be the other way round. They should be ashamed of themselves!
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkafka01
@Will -- Is it any more of a conflict to allow players who don't putt with a long putter to sit and make a determination? It could be argued that the short putter guys could be looking for a competitive advantage against the long putter guys.
Well the obvious reason to allow players to vote on whether legal anchoring should be made illegal is because they have legally made their living by anchoring the putter and have the power to vote for a local rule of competition to anchor. It is THEIR tour and they run it for their benefit.....not for the ease and convenience of the usga.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Players Advisory Council

Great list of champion golfers.

I wonder how Webb Simpson voted......
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson

I certainly agree. My point, I guess, is that although it is "their" Tour it seems somewhat nonsensical to have players voting on a measure like this.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWill
PGA Tour players should not be dictating the rules. Nor should they be dictating the agenda of the USGA. The USGA, warts and all, has this particular subject right. Sure, maybe it should have come later, after a distance roll back and slow play had been addressed. But, people with their livelihood at stake should not have any part in this decision. The USGA should hold their ground and force the PGA Tour to look like a bunch of spoiled brats.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff F.
Roll-back of the ball and addressing slow play are important and should also be tackled, but if ranking the issues, how can anything be more important than HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED . . . 30-odd years of allowances are just a blip in golf history, so save your "precedent" talk.

Rid golf of the word "fulcrum"
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
It is not 30 odd years of allowances. It is over 80 years. The long putter dates back to at least the 1930's in competitive golf. It is not just a blip in golf history.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterh2o-boy
Jeff F: I am sure you have an actual, you know, reason for declaiming that pga tour members shouldn't dictate their own rules. They play a specific series of controlled events unto themselves. They have rules for inclusion on the tour and have their own governance, sponsors, TV contracts etc etc. The tour exisits and is run for the benefit of the players. Timmy makes a fortune because he, to say the very least, enriches his members.

Why would the players care about the usga? They are much bigger than the usga.

And what if Augusta declared the masters would be conducted with a rolled back masters ball?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
So if the USGA loses one round they are just going to give up and quit? If Glen Nager lost a single case and simply gave up he wouldn't be much of a lawyer would he? I'm told he's a heck of a lawyer. Surely he and his team will soldier on and tackle some serious issues and not let some pushback on what is an essentially meaningless issue (a simple matter of aesthtics) deter them....
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
This makes me wonder how the vote would go on ''slow play''. Let me speculate- no one would vote for anything that might cost one of the slow players a dime--just like this vote--these guys will NEVER vote their true feelings in any matter that could cost any other member any dollars.

Additionally, nothing against these guys, but where is TW, PM, and some of the pillars of the tour? This group is only a step or 2 more powerful than the PGAQ wives, thru no fault of their own. I'm sorry guys, if you read this.

If the 80% voted ''for keeping the anchoring'', as was reported, it tells me that may first statement is totally accurate.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDigsouth
The PAC info is very disappointing. The PGA Tour is about protecting those "in the club". It seems like mediocrity is accepted as long as a certain number of players are protected and can make a nice living. We can't take the anchoring away from Keegan (a player I find really annoying). He is our future and if not, I may need him to protect my income at some point. There is right and there is wrong. Is anchoring right? Sure everyone can do it if they choose but is it in the spirit of the game? Why not allow gimmes since every pro SHOULD make from 3 feet and in? If the Tour goes this way I will lose even more respect and will certainly watch less (and what about the guy who wind with the long putter. Does he get in the Hall of Fame? Will the greats look down on them? Will there always be an asterisk? It is amazing how great some of the golf on the tour is and amazing how poorly a lot of guys play (Villegas?). It already is less interesting and now if they go against the rules why even bother watching especially everytime an anchored putter is being used. Very sad but just highlights what the Tour today is really about.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Let's get further in bed with the club manufacturers and make more money. Lets flaunt the rules on the ball and make even hotter balls so that the pros can really impress. And lets flaunt the rules on the driver and make them go 450 yards. Why do WE need the USGA?? This is entertainment. Theys guys are GOOD. Oh, and lets make the hole just a bit bigger (only on the PGA Tour) so that more putts are made and excitement is higher (and it helps all the old guys stay on tour as they need some help, the anchored putter is just not enough). Some mfrs would love it (no names used but I think we can figure out who). Amazing.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Shocked, just shocked, that the PGA would want to keep making the game easier for its members. These guys are keeping it easy.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
I think of this a little like parliamentary government w/the USGA as the Prime Minister. With a parliamentary democracy the PM's party (which is the majority) basically goes along with (votes for) the PM's policies. If the members of the PM's party disagree with his or her policies, they have a no-confidence vote, and you have a new election, and someone else (often) takes charge. And the process repeats. But you don't have the members choosing which of the leaders policies they like or or do not like. If the PGA Tour starts trying to pick and choose the rules, it's going to lead to an undermining of the USGA's ability to do its job, and you have to find someone else to make the rules, which opens up a whole other can of worms.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterelf
The amateur game is the heart of golf. However, amateurs will always want to emulate the pros...always, even if 90% of them don't understand that it's a completely different game at the pro level. It's a trickle down effect . This is why clubs are stretching courses to 8,000 yards, even if 75% of the golfers playing on that course can't break 90. The USGA hasn't done enough to control the pro game. If the USGA steps up and makes good changes to protect the long term health of the game (ban anchoring, introduce a rolled-back ball, stop tricking up the US Open with cart path wide fairways and knee-high rough) my prediction is that most amateurs will fall in line.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterG-Man
Maybe the wrong place to post this, but how on earth can Tim Clark hit a golf ball if he can't physically putt in the normal fashion...i hold my putter and club virtuallly the same way.

02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterManku
If PGA Tour members and administration don't want to live by USGA rules, they don't have to. They can decide anchoring is acceptable in their tournaments. But, I doubt they have the courage to implement their own set of rules. If they feel so strongly about this issue, that's the intellectually honest course of action.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott R.
BirdKiller made a great observation on GC a few minutes ago. As a former PAC member he explained that as a representative the job isn't to further ones own personal agenda, but rather to assess the opinion of the broader membership and reflect those results back to the home office.

The conclusion, don't shoot the PAC Board, they are only reflecting the majority opinion of PGA Tour membership collectively.

(by all accounts 'against' ban is 80%+, those 'for' the ban less than 20%)
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The PAC is elected by players, to represent the players.
The Policy Board comes out of the PAC to work with independent (business) directors and
one PGA of America representative to decide the direction of the Tour. They focus on the BUSINESS of
the tour.

There are players against the ban, and players for the ban. There are also a lot players trying to figure out why the
USGA/RA waited decades to address a style of putting that they don't like the look of.

There were at least 10 rules book revisions since players in highly competitive golf anchored putters in some way, and the USGA allowed it. Now there are players who have developed their competitive games around a method that the USGA allowed. Some of those players have seen great success, and could now be told to relearn a way to putt, the most important part of the game.
For the guys that have spent most of their professional life developing this style (Peterson, Clarke) it would be akin to telling them to
putt left handed.

Should anchoring be banned? If yes, it should have been when first introduced. It was allowed, two wrongs do not justify the decision IMO
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
I seem to recall that usga playoffs used to be 36 holes at stroke play. The pga tour had different rules for playoffs and, somehow, the game survived. Oh, and the usga now uses basically the same playoff system.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
Who said it's OK to move stones in bunkers?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Didn't he European Tour start that local rule years ago?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
So the R&A and the USGA ban anchoring and the PGA Tour decides to keep anchoring. What do their members do in the majors - none of which are run by the PGA Tour!
The Masters is run by Augusta GC
US Open is run by the USGA
The Open is run by the R&A
and The PGA Championship is run by the US PGA

Just a thought.....
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn W
There is a sport to view and learn from, and the lesson has been VERY PAINFUL for the athletes.

The Indy car drivers, and primarly the owner of the Indianapolis race track wanted something different than the governing body was offering in the rules-- it doesn't matter what---it involved tech info and more, not unlike anchoring or not--- the best drivers went a different way, and 2 sanctioning bodies and 2 sets of races were formed -the Indy Racing League, and CART, and neither has ever had the crowds they once had, in spite of attempts to bring it all back together-- honestly all the details are very fuzzy, because, I lost interest, and I made my living as a manufacturer's rep for racing products.

But I can tell you this- the largest single day sporting event was the Indy 500, and the SECOND LARGEST SINGLE DAY SPORTING EVENT was the last day of qualifying--over 500,000 on race day, and over A QUARTER OF A MILLION- THAT'S 250,000! on the last day of qualifying---

now you can walk up and buy ticket on race day, it is not sold out, and you can sit anywhere you want on Q day-- there are only a few thousand there.

So PGA members--you are about to screw the pooch, and I told you so, right here, today; so DON'T DO IT.

Everyone will get inside the ropes in 20 years, because there won't be ay, and those 30 thousand dollar winner checks will be cherished toward the year money winner, bringing home 345 thousand, as watched on the Golf, Horseshoe and Washers Channel, with longtime host Gary ''Ringer'' Williams.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
John W,

Great point!! Will be interesting to see players who anchor have to use a non-anchored stroke in The Open and the US Open (and hopefully the Masters) or not play. The PGA will let them anchor. Will be interesting. I hope the USGA and the R&A stick to their plan. That alone could force players who actually could win a major leave anchoring. We'll see who the golfers are and the ones who just love the money.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
John W., the PGA of America is also against the anchoring ban.

Interesting that Frank Hannigan's letter on bifurcation said this:

**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.**

So, now we have the PGA of America, and possibly the PGA Tour, against anchoring. Where do the LPGA and the "regional golf associations" representative shake out on the situation?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Amateurs will always want to emulate the pros
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKhalid
Has another golf issue ever had 2 sides so entrenched? Just curious...

The "banners" and "broomers" are firmly planted, no one has made an original argument for or against in the last 6 months. I do find the Tour PAC issue this week pretty interesting.

Question: does anyone think that Y.E. Yang coud have hit that shot at Hazeltine with a blade 2 or 3 iron? Hybrids have done way more to make the game "eaiser" than any style of putting has, or could, ever.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNC Phyllis
NC Phyllis,

Point taken on the hybrid. Yang would probably have not gotten so close.

But isn't putting probably the most important aspect to the game where nerves probably have the greatest impact? Missing one putt within 5 feet a round means finishing well down vs winning. Hitting a hybrid to 10 feet rather than 30 feet probably doesn't have as great an impact. Imagine Adam Scott down the stretch of the Open using a conventional putter. His nerves were affected with anchoring which suggests they were pretty bad (imo). Look at Els' stroke with the short putter at Innisbrook vs at The Open. My gut says neither Els or Scott would have bee near the lead at The Open with a free flowing stroke. Is that fair or right? Not in my book. Why not allow aids to help pendulum the stroke at some point? Anchoring is not automatically the panacea but personally I believe it aids especially under pressure. And that is what matters to me. The game should be won by the best physical and mental player and I just feel like anchoring reduces the mental aspect (nerves).
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
jim-I am absolutely sure you are right.Del-the European tour has given relief from stones in bunkers for ages.It is seen as a safety issue.They also deny relief from stance in a burrowing animal hole and newly cut turf-but you only hear of the ones where it is perceived that the players get an advantage!
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
So in fact we have different tours, and different events, playing by different rules, and they all seem to motor along just fine...

Chico, why are you and Digger now using cap's?
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
No idea Del!
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChico
I am showing up as spam, with no miracle whip and white bread... I am trying to get *somethng* to work..... I have seveal posts that have not appeared, including a very important one concerning anchoring and the PGAT

important facts
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDIGSOUTH

I think Scott's stroke at the last is a perfect example of the ineffectiveness of the long putter. That was a horrendous effort, low and weak the whole way. He wouldn't, or couldn't have made a worse stroke with a 34" Bullseye.

To me, and truthfully, I don't use one, but if someone wants to I say let 'em. I've said this before, the Belly especially, looks virtually the same unless you are directly in front of the player. So the aesthetic argument is a little off there. And if aesthetics are the barometer, does anyone think Hunter Mahan's swing looks like Nelson's? Did Nelson's look like Hagen or Jones? Advances in equipment and ideas will lead to new methods in all sports (Fosbury) Now, Sam Torrance and the chin, or most long putters I would agree look a little less traditional. But that's not my point here.

It just seems like the tone by some, not all, some of the "Banners" is a little too passionate (with a little condescension tossed in there) for such a small issue.

*460cc drivers, do make tee shots easier, more forgiving - this reduces the need for precision and reduces the effects of nerves.
*perimeter weighted irons, hybrids, 60+ wedges - all make the game MUCH MUCH easier.
*Caddies lining a player up looks sillly too, did you see Charlie Beljan, or the LPGA. Come on! Line up your own putts.
02.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNC Phyllis

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