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Bamberger: Finchem Announcing Anchoring Opposition Sunday

Michael Bamberger says Commissioner Tim Finchem will make his annual bathroom-break-for-everyone-else appearance on the WGC Accenture Match Play's Sunday telecast to lull insomniacs into naps.

But in a bit of a shocker, Bamberger says Finchem will also be announcing the PGA Tour's opposition to the proposed ban on anchoring and by doing so on television, would be launching a shock marketing attack on the USGA and R&A:

Finchem, of course, could do that in a letter to the USGA, and surely will. He's going on TV, during the final day of the Accenture Match Play Championship, because he knows how this game is really played. It's being waged, as all fights are in this unprincipled age, in the court of public opinion. He wants the golfing public to be behind the Tour's position. War is on, and he's playing to win.

It is quite the aggressive move if true. Stay tuned! And for a change, don't head to the restroom when the Commish makes an appearance. That's what the inevitable Accenture drone's appearance is for.

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Reader Comments (59)

Please, please, please, please, USGA! Smack these prima donnas down!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Horrific public relations move. Some of these guys aren't that good unless they use a crutch...
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Yea, go Tim!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
USGA, R&A should stick to their guns - they have both Opens for crying out loud!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWes S
<< USGA, R&A should stick to their guns - they have both Opens for crying out loud! >>

In an earlier, lengthier post, I predict exactly that. The USGA and R&A have taken their stand and despite the lack of scientific proof or empirical data, they've decided that they don't like the way anchoring LOOKS so the HELL with the "comment period" -- these bodies have made their decision and the ban will proceed as planned. With the Masters almost certainly siding with the USGA, the PGA Tour will either be forced to see a few players without their brooms and bellys for those three major weeks OR they'll just back down.

And despite Timmy's "support" of his players on Sunday (I'll be elswhere.... five hours watching TWO golfers on a goofball track? Please.) you can bet that this will be an "unofficial" lean toward allowing anchoring but when the USGA (and the majority of golfers) elect to stand firm, the rest of the Tour will fall in line as well. Hey, Webby and Keegie.... we lke ya -- but not THAT much.

You watch.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
Good for Tim. This is the silliest rule since the Schenectady putter (also courtesy of the R & A). The governing bodies don’t like the look after 30 plus years. This is much ado about nothing as far as golf goes..

USGA and R & A comment period is a joke; a complete farce. R & A is going to do what they want regardless. USGA will follow along. That’s how we got here. The issue is not anchoring, it is R & A trying to reestablish primary position in golf. Davis is over matched by Dawson.

By the way I do not anchor and have no problem with those that do.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn M
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I hope this is the first of many such announcements. The ruling bodies have made a series of stupid, unjustifiable decisions in recent years, and their ability to govern the game is going to suffer. Remember, the only authority the have is for their own championships, every place else they govern only by the agreement of the players and competition organizers.

The golfing public has accepted things like the COR rule, despite the fact that it was "rule" that allowed clubs to violate a rule that had been around for decades. But the obviously asinine groove rule (in retrospect at least) is doing nothing except forcing people to buy new wedges whether they want to or not.

Now they're going to ban a stroke becauce people THINK it's an advantage? Are they serious?

02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkenoneputt
While I am not a USGA guy, and my respect for the alleged ''34'' rules is documented, this schism, if the PGA goes with their own rules will eat away at the games popularity and cost 100's of millions in money, and thousands in jobs within 20 to 30 years.

I hope the USGA stands their ground, because if they back down, their authority will be toast, maybe not now, but soon.

The ''pundits'' will go whichever way gains them short term financial gain. Note how the 2 real thinkers are no longer participating in TGC daily BS. Instead we get, well you know.
Go K1P!

How does a guy like Bamberger cite Arnold Palmer (twice no less!) in an article of this nature after Arnold blatantly endorsed an illegal driver that Callaway produced for the US market in direct conflict with the USGA? That's just dumb. Oh yeah, that's right, Bamberger's another *I'm the Story* guy like Miceli...he's the one that got Wie DQ'd a day later.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
I hope it's true. I for one am tired of Mike Davis thinking he knows everything about golf in terms of rules, course set-up, balls, etc. Davis is twice the control freak that Finchum is.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ McAndrews
Set aside your feelings for Mike Davis, do you feel anchoring should be allowed? If so, then why should this be about the politicians involved?
02.22.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
Shame on the PGA Tour and the PGA of America. I'll start entertaining notions of a boycott.

But I say again; there could be a compromise. Once again, my "reverse bifurcation" application. Ban anchored putting now for junior competitors. Then, later, all of amateur golf and the NCAA. Then, later on, when non-anchoring juniors reach the level of the Tour, make it a world-wide all-inclusive ban. It took 30 years to get to this "reliance" problem. (PGA Tour players saying they "rely" on a heretofore legal method.) If it took us 10 years to get out of it, that's not so bad.

I have yet to hear about any problem with this compromise approach. And there could be many benefits. Years of junior (low)-level experience with rulings on how to ban anchored putting, before we get to some tragic rules controversy in an Open Championship or a Masters. Work out all the kinks in the rule. Let Tour players figure out how they might like to putt in the distant future. Plan their retirement if it comes to that.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
Chuck, that sounds like a reasonable plan to me.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The USGA has said all along that this has nothing to do with anchoring being advantageous. It has to do with how anchoring doesn't fit in with the spirit and appearance of the game. It is not a swing and I think the USGA can make the case that anchoring doesnt fit in the description of a stroke.

So please stop with the advantageous/no advantage gained argument. The USGA and those that support their stance on this issue could care less about whether or not it is advantageous. It is simply not a golf stroke and thankfully the USGA is finally standing up for the game.

PS: I could care less about whether this deters people from playing. The integrity of the game is more importantthan the Mount of people playing it.

In my opinion of course. ;)
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeff F.
While he's at it, he might as well announce that the PGAT will be using larger holes cause people want to see birdies, not bogeys.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Jeff F., if you read the joint USGA/R&A press release it's perfectly clear, and you don't even have to read it closely, that in fact they do consider it a stroke and they repeatedly refer to it as such. (the one Adam Scott makes)

It's just a stroke they don't like the looks of...
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Geoff, I'm probably 60-40 for the ban but Mr., Davis, IMO, did this because Webb Simpson won the US OPEN. He has become arrogant in the decisions that he's made since taking over the USGA and I'm tired of it. I think folks are starting to see the REAL Mike Davis who is a complete control freak.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ McAndrews
Bamberger believes that Mike Davis is some sort of naive pushover that will be easily bullied... try telling that to the Bird Man.

USGA wins this one in the end.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ
Hope the USGA / R&A stick to their guns.

Which young, talented golfer will want to play with an anchored putter if they know they can't use it in 3 of the majors.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
Stord, I was about to post the same thought.
If the PGATour and the PGA allows anchoring it will only be those who have no chance of a major major who do resort to it after an early career not anchoring. So Chuck's scenario kicks in till a pro is, say 40.
Harrumph .. sounds to me like a lot of doublespeak to me. Expect the PGA tour to ban anchoring sooner rather than later.
Is it just me or is this whole ridiculous situation, in terms of rational thought/debate, now flipped on it's head?

Who would ever think that a ruling body, whose focus is on Amateur golf and growing the game, would be AGAINST anchoring??! (Thus in theory taking away an easier way to putt for 99.99% of golfers)

Yet the best players in the world (<0.5% of all golfers) are now saying that they are FOR anchoring???!!! This implies that these so-called great and talented players, who are envied and fawned all over the world (according to Timmmy), are now claiming...(err whining)... that taking away their special fulcrum ball rolling sticks is not "fair".

Since when was golf supposed to be fair? I can see allowing say a really long broomstick (as I've posted before) for folks who simply can not bend over without quivering as a potential settlement/compromise. But jamming an extended putter grip into one's belly is crossing the line since everything else about that style is the same as a normal stroke...which begs the question why was it allowed in the first place...uh we go round again...

phew...I told ya'll awhile back this would get interesting, but I never thought it would pan out like that. I thought the Tour would support the USGA and then just go ahead an ban anchoring in say another 5-8yrs via a change in the COC on the PGAT's hard card. Perhaps even do like the NHL sans-helmet grandfather rule. Anyone remember how cool McTavish looked his last season??

(At least I think he was the "last man without a hat" before the NHL started acting all soccer mom safe and stuff?)

There has got to be a solution where the USGA/R&A come out still being the ruling bodies for the game while allowing concessions to the pros who make their living playing essentially a silly game.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Can't blame Finchem if he's just representing the wishes of his membership, can you?
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
Didn't Mike Davis say on Morning Drive in 2011 that anchoring was not a competitive advantage? One year later it's the scourge of the game? All you supporting the ban, where have you been the last 30 years? Somehow I couldn't hear you. There is no scientific evidence that anchoring offers a competitive advantage. Why not ban graphite? Metalwoods? The "purists" here make me sick. Who are you to tell me what is pure and what isn't. And don't even get me started on the "traditions" of the game. Key word folks, "game" don't forget that. We need to break down the walls to bring in new golfers not build them. Bifurcation? Who cares. We should design the game for the 99% not the .0001% of tour players and "traditionalist" blowhards. I don't care if Robopro #25 wins the US Open at 34 under at Merion, I care that I can play in 4 hours at my boring old muni. Let the pros shoot whatever, The tour hasn't brought more golfers to the game, not only in the last 20 years, but NEVER. We had a great game before TV and the web. We'll grow the game by making access easier, learning easier, and designing rules and equipment to appeal to the masses, not the tour player. Less rules, not more, will help the game.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfGuru
typical lawyer-chuck, complicate it beyond belief. ban the god-damn thing already.

apparently, these guys aren't that good, whatever happened to the VJ drug issue, swept under the rug?
This could end badly for all sides of the argument.
''apparently, these guys aren't that good, whatever happened to the VJ drug issue, swept under the rug?''

As was said in the surprisingly balanced ''state of the game''--if someone showed up to play in shorts, Finchem would have already ruled.
The advantage gained is primarily mental. Most of the sweepers have tried all kinds of different putting styles and simply ended up with one that gives them some semblance of confidence. When I walk to the 1st tee and see one if those contraptions sticking out of my opponent' bag, I'm already one up in my mind. The guy obviously can't putt and he knows it and so do I. It's not a stroke, it looks like crap and the ban is long over due. The only mistake is they waited too long, probably thinking/hoping it would go away on its own.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterP-Dog
Some random thoughts in search of a connecting thread:

I don't understand the argument that "it's been ok for 30 years". The stymie was part of the rules for a century. You used to have to tee off within 2 club lengths of the previous green. Rules change all the time. You can argue what you think should or shouldn't define a stroke, but the argument that it's too late to change, or "where was the outcry 20 years ago" is bogus and inconsistent with the history of the evolution of the rules.

And what about those rules? Any game is just a random set of rules, anyway. No one would be clamoring for an anchored stroke if it had been illegal since 1754. And if those first rules had entitled you to one throw per nine, then that would be integral to the game we know and love today, and nobody would complain. You'd just go throw a bucket of balls once a week to sharpen that part of your game. People don't leave the game because rules make the game too hard. Rules define the parameters of the game. It's ones expectations for themselves that determines if a game is hard or not. If I take my 4 handicap game to the junior tees, it's pretty easy, even with all these pesky "rules".

If you want to keep using a belly putter, go right ahead. But you won't be playing golf any more than you would of you hockeyed all your chip shots into a seven inch cup. And who cares? Just don't do it in competition or for handicap purposes,
and you won't have to "leave the game". But we need a rule-making body, and the USGA and R & A should absolutely make the rules. And if that includes a ban on anchoring, bravo!

02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
what RES said...I'm just too lazy to post :o)

Every game has rules. You don't have to play by the rules. Somebody has the tedious job of making them. You can make up your own rules if you want but then you're playing a different game than what drew you in in the first place.So there!
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
I was hoping for James Lepp(former NCAA champ) of the last BIG BREAK to get thru Q-School and introduce his innovative hockey shot chip shot to the world. Would Davis have banned that as well--it looks twenty times worse than the belly putter.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ McAndrews
Wipe that dandruff off your blue blazer RES. And the seven inch hole sounds like a good thing, it would offset the stupidly fast greens that too many courses have created. We need rules determined by people not in ivory towers who have no concept of how most of us mortals play and enjoy the game.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfGuru
We need two sets of rules: "The Rules of Golf" and "The Goofball Rules of Golf"
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
<< Note how the 2 real thinkers are no longer participating in TGC daily BS. Instead we get, well you know. >>

Say, Diggie, I'm curious about the two to which you refer. Certainly, one has to be Ahmad Rashad (ha!)

And Chuck, while the "reverse bifurcation" idea at first makes sense (first ban juniors, then college, then pro's.etc.) the biggest problem with that is that over the next ten years players would go out and belly/broom their way to a half-dozen more major championships thus causing the USGA to over into a corner and lie there in a fetal position.

Again: first go after the grooves. Check. Then the anchored putter. Check. Now with all the "little victories" behind them, the USGA will be in a position to legislate against the course-changing, maintenance-increasing, green-fee-jacking, slow-play generating Golf Ball.

You watch.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle

As for Vijay, no "drugs" = no "issue".
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Kudos to Finchem. What other sport is trying to impose regulations that will decrease enjoyment, reduce participation and treat those who have in good faith adopted a method well within the rules of the game prejudiciously? It is silly especially in light of fact that there is admittedly no shred of empirical evidence that the method in question results in any form of advantage. In 2013, golf needs to grow and thrive and become more accessible not walled off from the everyman due to some perceived breach of an antiquated notion of what the game was meant to be. So, again, kudos to Finchem for helping prepare the game for the future and not letting it fester in the past.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterZelig
"kudos to Finchem"

be careful what you wish for
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
Maybe he'll announce a pay raise for himself. Isn't it always about the money with Tim?

If the PGA Tour decides to ignore the ban, Tiger's chances of surpassing Jack's 18 majors improve dramatically. Why? It should be obvious. The players who rely on anchoring - Simpson, Scott, Bradley, Clark et al - will not be allowed to use their current putting method in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and very likely the Masters and the PGA. If that doesn't improve Tiger's chances, nothing does.

Personally, I don't care what the PGA Tour does about anchoring or anything else. Golf is bigger than the PGA Tour. Much bigger. Each week a 156 guys tee it up for big, big money. Each week millions of men and women tee it up for countless reasons, mostly fun and a modest wager among buddies. But the real reason: Love of the game.

We don't need the PGA Tour. They need us!
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiberty Apples
As I see it if the PGA Tour and USGA were independent of one another and did not collaborate in any way it would not be so awkward.
It would be as if the Tour said, we have a league, play by the rules consistent with USGA, with an exception (the exception being anchoring). But, in fact, the Tour and USGA do collaborate during the US Open. Likewise, there is collaboration with the R&A in The Open Championsip. Therefore, achoring would not be allowed in the Open or US Open - inconvenient for the likes of Simpson, Bradley, et al.
A bit like the Yankees playing the Mets at Shea in interleague play. Come over to Queens, lads, and play us. Like you, we still honor the infield fly rule . . . but forget about using a DH. Our field, our rules.

I am looking forward to following this controversy.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane

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