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« First Reactions To PGA Tour's Anchoring Opposition | Main | Instant Poll: PGA Tour's Case For Opposing The Anchoring Ban »

Els 1-Year Flashback: Ban It

I was going through some past stories as well as this week's coverage and saw Gary Van Sickle's story built around Ernie Els' denouncement of the governing bodies for suggesting there is a competitive advantage to anchoring the putter.

"If 90 percent of the guys were using it, or if the guys using it were at the top of the putting stats - give me something to really make me believe you have to ban it," Els said. "I saw a quote from Mike Davis - correct me if I'm wrong - saying they don't see that there's any importance in banning the putter. And then Webb [Simpson] wins [the 2012 U.S. Open], and I win, and they want to ban the putter. So I'm not too sure what their reason is behind this whole thing."

Last year on Valentines Day--February 14, 2012--Els could not have stated his views that it was a competitive advantage more fervently. The only difference is that he's since won a major using a form of, as he put it, "cheating," and a form of cheating the PGA Tour is now fighting to protect.

Nothing should be anchored to your body, and I believe‑‑ I still believe that.  I was in such a state that I felt that I needed to change something, which I did.  I went to the belly.  It hasn't really helped me that much, but it has helped me.  But I'm for it.  Ban it.  It's fine.

I know it's an individual's sport and narcissism is rampant, but still, it's pretty appalling to see such reversals all in the name of self-interest.

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Reader Comments (10)

Why only banning? Aren't there any alternates?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
Quite obviously you have a chip on your shoulder about Ernie. Did he decline an interview?
lots of players have swayed. Including beloved Americans Furyk and Stricker
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterbruce
Bruce, you don't seem to be able to comprehend. Try.

The story says he was going thru some old stuff, and here was EE then, and he he is now with a complete reversal. All in print. Get a grip.
Geoff, in honor of Ernie I have gone back to the Instant Poll and voted a second time in the opposite direction.
02.25.2013 | Unregistered Commentergov. lepetomane
Come on... this isn't like Peter Garrett going from being the leader of the Nuclear Disarmament Party to joining Labour as Minister for the Environment and then having an "Evolution of thinking" before approving uranium mining and nuclear power plants. (This all happened in a little place called Australia.)

Some players felt Metal Woods should be banned. They weren't, so they all used them. Many players believe that balls should be made to fly shorter distances. Such balls exist, but no-one uses them. Maybe someone thinks gloves give an advantage over a bare hand. But nearly everyone wears at least one.

Ernie watched players anchor for years, and probably thought it would go the way of side-saddle pretty soon. It didn't, so he tried it and practiced until it worked for him, and now it's going to be banned? I'd be pissed too.

Any method that works for YOU gives YOU an advantage. Cross-handed, back-handed, left-handed, one-handed, the claw... and any combinations thereof, all make some players feel they have a better chance of getting the ball in the hole.

The reality is that golfers putt better when they change something. They miss enough putts with the old method and they start having negative thoughts and double guessing during the stroke. They change something and hole a few putts and give credit to the method, rather than the new positive attitude.

As long as the long putters aren't used to measure free drops, the only advantage they provide is in the head of the user.

Ernie's allowed to change his mind every now and again. If you hold all the same opinions you held a year ago, it's probably due to stilted and close-minded thinking. I'm not saying you should open your mind so far that your brain falls out, but a re-evaluation every now and again isn't a bad thing. Even if it's an opinion you've publicly stated before. (Unless you're John Howard stating before an election: "Read my lips: No new taxes.")
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBlackballed Vijay
Proof all golf, all the time can make one crazy...pros are even more susceptible to the madness.
02.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
Bruce is correct - but it is not just Ernie who Geoff has a problem with. Not too keen on Gary Player and Charl Schwartzel either! Maybe he has a soft spot for Retief and Louis which he keeps disguised.

As for Ernie's views - he is clearly conflicted about the whole issue, as are many people. And yes his views have evolved over 12 months, no doubt in part because the issue has been so much discussed. And this would surely be true for many others too. In short, i don't share your sense of outrage Geoff - but maybe that is just because i am South African!
02.25.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpepster
This is the kinder, softer America at work. It has developed from Moms not wanting their kid to be left off sports teams, out of school plays, or not invited to every birthday party. I honestly believe that guys like Tiger, Davis, Phil, Ernie, don't want to piss off their fellow teammates and friends, regardless of how they feel. It's called LEADERSHIP and it's a quality not many want to step up and take for fear of losing a friend. How else can you explain an outspoken guy like Tiger backing off his original statements? America is weakening in certain respects and it is tough to watch. Makes you respect guys in the past who stood up and faced the heat. I believe if Tiger and Phil supported the ban, like I think the USGA thought they would, this whole thing would never have gotten here.
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTeddy crook crook
"'s pretty appalling to see such reversals all in the name of self-interest."

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
–Upton Sinclair
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I like Ernie personally but he is a hypocrite on anchoring. Sorry. Today in our world hypocrisy is rampant, politicians we have gotten used to, but golfers should be above it. I was happy for Ernie's win at The Open but I have no doubt he would not have won without anchoring. Look at the putt at Innisbrook. Nerves should be part of the game and those who can control them are better and deserve to win. Yes it was legal but it isn't right and hopefully it will never again happen at The Open. Ernie is better than this.
02.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim

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