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USGA Statement On PGA Tour Anchoring Stance 

I requested a statement from the USGA following PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem's comments during the WGC Accenture Match Play, here's what they say:

“The 90-day comment period remains a very good process. We continue to listen to varying points of view, and have had many productive conversations across the golf community, which is a reminder of just how much people care about the game – regardless of their position on this issue."

"As we consider the various perspectives on this issue, it has always been our position that Rule 14-1b aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke, which has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge.

"It is our plan to take final action on the proposed rule in the spring.”

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Reader Comments (28)

Noise, noise, noise. Lots out there, but none that makes me believe any other outcome than the USGA/R&A implementing the anchoring ban and the PGA Tour ultimately deferring to their rule-making authority.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ
Correcto-mundo. What the USGA just said is "Thanks. Now go away." What golf's ruling body fully understand is that despite what the Tour says about protecting its own, despite the PGA of America hoping to sell more long putters, despite a vocal handful asserting that anchoring offers no "real" advantages, they believe that the MAJORITY of golfers believe that the belly and broom doesn't constitute a stroke. Just like the "croquet" style that was legal forever..... until Sam Snead started using it. Tiger, Arnie, Jack, Gary and even our buddy Geoff are in support of a ban so the USGA is confident that with the sentiment of traditionalists on its side, proceeding with the rule change is the Right Thing To Do. Seems like a small battle, doesn't it? But the USGA is determined to win this one... that will then give them the impetus to their next targets: the ball and them springy-faced drivers.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenSeattle
" has always been our position that Rule 14-1b aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke,"
Okay, but if that's the case, why didn't you ban anchoring 35 years ago? The old-schooler and idealist in me wants to see it banned. But the realist (who has listened to both sides for weeks) thinks it would create more problems than necessary if that happened.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamad
Well written Ben. Hope you are correct.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Totally agree with Tim Finchem's position on the proposed anchoring ban. The evidence simply doesn't exist that players are gaining a competitive advantage with anchoring. A ban would be unnecessary and unfair. The USGA and R & A would be wrong and foolhardy to go ahead with the proposal.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewCoop
Andrew has flown it
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
I am going to sleep much better tonight knowing that Tim Finchem is looking out for my best interests!
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
The day the anchoring ban died. PGA Tour and PGA professionals against, USGA has twice said it was ok in the past.

"Game over man, GAME OVER!"
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVRWC
Keegan and his cohorts have turned into the PGAT version of the Robert Williams character, Clumpy Morphus. Time to remove that 35-year-old diaper and make a legit stroke.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Have to agree it is dead as a door knob,....go through whatever grief process you need to...accept the long putter is not going away.. and let's move onto to something that matters like the ball and distance. No greens have ever been redesigned because of the effect of the anchored putter. Get over it.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterOdd Job
I think the Tour screwed this one up. If they had initially opposed this idea (through back channels) when the USGA/R&A were still in consideration phase, they might have killed this. Now it has become a power struggle. No way they will back down. Even if the USGA were willing the R&A will hold them to it. Has the Euro Tour weighed in ? Best case scenario for the pros - some sort of compromise based on either a grandfather rule or possibly a bifurcation based on age (over 50 or something like that). I hope they hold firm, but allowing those over 50 to continue to use it does not bother me.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
These buffoons on the PGA Tour board knew the anchoring thing was coming--if they really wanted to kill it they could have done so quietly, when their rep on the rules of golf comm went in and told them---"this is coming".

Instead they waited, looked at which way the wind blew, and complained.

the pros (touring and club) haven't said "we will defy you" they've said "we'll blame you".

No better time two groups of amateurs, with no financial stake in the game, to do what is right. Then Jim Furyk and Ogilvie and the other geniuses can tell Keegan etc., "Hey, we tried--its not our fault"
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Has Finchem ever gone on the record with his personal opinion on the subject?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Once again, all of a sudden, the morons at the usga- the guys who did not roll back the ball- those guys are all of a sudden geniuses who must be obeyed about anchoring. Maybe Timmy and the tour guys think the usga are a bunch of everyone here believes.

Why would anyone trust the usga? They ruined the game, didn't they?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
If anchoring offers no competitive advantage, then what's the problem? Should be nothing for Keegan and everyone else who anchors to switch, right? Won't miss a beat.

See what I did there?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Interesting to me that we just assume the worst of the PGA Tour and its motivations and act as if the judgment of the USGA and R&A is beyond reproach (maybe this is a diversionary tactic by the R&A to deflect attention from its lack of female membership!). The USGA and R&A find themselves in a position of (slowly) dwindling influence. Their power comes from the consent of the governed, and the reality is the Tour can disregard the rule and suffer little blowback. The USGA is the organization that runs the risk of being damaged here.

What about the PGA of America and NGCOA? Why do the opinions of those organizations carry no weight?

For better or worse, the days of the USGA and R&A dictating are coming to a close.

They couldn’t have handled the situation much worse and now they, and the game, are paying for it.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterknottypine
Knotty: very well said.

And for all you guys who believe that this is the first act in a usga play that will culminate in the rollback of the golfball..... forget it. The usga and the r and a proved they can't order lunch without screwing up.

Remember, Wally ulhein is a lot smarter than Timmy and has lots more money and better lawyers.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
I don't know how anyone could possibly take the R&A seriously given their insistence on excluding women.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Res, the belly stroke is close and may take one person a year to putt well with out it, but I feel for the long putters, way different stroke. They have no chance to compete if this goes through. But how much money will someone lose during the switch?

For all the anti belly people, why do you not like it now, where wore you 10 years ago when they became a little more mainstream.

But I still want a real reason from the usga, Davis told us in 2011 that there was no reason to ban an anchored stroke. Than both open's are won with belly putters and now that is all we talk about. Not slow play, the cost, the ball, the big drivers or falling numbers. I feel Bobb Jones rose from the dead and told the usga again that he doesn't like how someone is playing the game again. Than you got side saddle, witch looks even worse. I wonder what we will get next and how long it will be legal.

Even though I am against the ban, I would go to the dark side if the usga would make round in the us open stay under 4 hours.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark
''Has Finchem ever gone on the record with his personal opinion on the subject?''

He Said:

''You know the best things in life are free;
but you can give' em to the birds and bees-

I want MONEY
(that's what I want)
Lots of money ,child
That's what I want
That's what I want.
If there is no competitive advantage, why use the long putter in the first place? A stroke with a 35" putter, in the traditional sense, allows the frailties of the golfer to shine through, evil and unwanted as they may be. That is part of the genius of golf. It demands you control not only the ball, but yourself. If these players, 'these guys are good', cannot control their putting maybe they aren't the best at what they do and shouldn't be earning the ridiculous amounts of money they are. But then again, Finchem has once again proved that the Tour and its Board are nothing but a Trade Union. Oh, I forgot, these guys are Independent Contractors. Odd that the ICs I work with must conform to the rules of their governing bodies, but hey...

Let's see: no transparency when it comes to suspensions, no effort to enforce pace of play on a regular and understandable basis, unwilling to punish players who use a product that is on the 'banned substance' list, testing for banned substance abuse is haphazard at best (Tiger saying he's only been tested once...not to pick on Tiger, but he has been around for a few years) when beta-blockers were some players best friend back in the 90s, and now this position on the use of the long putter! No wonder I'm getting tired of watching these pampered whiny brats.

Those that play competitive golf for a living are supposed to be the best. Period. As such, they must conform to the rules of the game and those rules are established by the governing bodies, not the Tour. If they cannot compete and succeed playing under the rules of golf then they are not the best and maybe it's time to find a new career. This pandering to the needs of those who cannot control their putting stroke is absurd, let those who play the game by the rules take the place of those who cannot.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commentermeefer
It was interesting to watch Commissioner Tim Finchem's debate style tactics while sitting in the NBC booth with Johnny Miller and Dan Hicks. Tim had his mantra well rehearsed, if they'd (USGA) made a decision against anchored putting back in 75 or 80, …...we have a generation that has grown up putting anchored style, …..they (USGA) haven't provided any proof that anchored putting is an advantage. Tim was noticibly troubled when Johnny began describing how he felt anchored style putting was an advantage as Tim quickly intererupted Johnny by making the statement, a third time, that this topic is all subjective. If its all subjective why not hear Johnny out? Johnny might have a subjective point of view that he wished to share. I certainly would like to know what Johnny's point of view is.

I brought up the narrow/WIDE/narrow paddle grip in an earlier post. This particular grip first showed up in the 1920's. It was made popular in the 1940's when John Reuter Jr designed his Bulls Eye putter. Johnny Miller shot 63 the last day of the 73 US OPEN and won with a Bulls Eye. Lanny Wadkins had his share of success with this putter, as did many - many others. Bob Mandrella at Wilson Sporting Goods designed the first 8802 Wilson Staff putter in 1961, then the Designed by Arnold Palmer version in 1962, both of Bob's versions incorporated the paddle grip, waist and bulge grip. Ben Crenshaw made this putter so popular that they named his putter little ben. For 60 something years this putter grip was in conforming use. I successfully completed the 1989 PGA Tour qualifying school (early December at TPC Woodlands) putting with my favorite putter, an 8802. On January 1st, 1990 I had to cut this grip off my favorite putter and find a new conforming grip before my first event, the Tucson Open.

Interesting enough, this 1990 rules change was crushing to put it mildly. Yes, when you've grown up with something and perfected it to a certain degree how do you all of a sudden change? Well, you do, and we all did. I didn't see Crenshaw and others running around threatening to sue the USGA. I didn't see veterans in press room voicing their opinions about the grip decision. I didn't see the PGA Tour policy board and pac board holding meetings about the grip change. I didn't see Deane Beman getting on national television explaining how the PGA Tour was against such a ban. Instead what I saw happening were guys like Ben Crenshaw sucking it up and moving on while respecting the USGA's ruling. Believe me, none of us were happy.

If they'd banned it back in 75 or 80 it might be different. I would point out the USGA banning the paddle grip in 1990 after 60 something years. Yes, many different generations, including mine grew up with that grip. And No, the USGA did not provide us with imperial evidence that the paddle grip provided an unfair advantage, they made a decision concerning the Rules and we all lived by them. What the USGA did say at the time was they felt players could mold their hands onto that grip making it easier to control the putter. That's what we were told as to why after 60 someting years, so the USGA decided to clarify a rule, and that's their right.

If the USGA came to the conclusion in 1990 (after 60 years) that molding your hands on the paddle grip made controling the putter easier should we really be questioning the time frame of the USGA looking at long putters and belly putters? If the USGA said the paddle grip made controlling the putter to easy, would it be far fetched to believe the USGA views anchoring the putter even "easier"? Subjectively speaking, anchoring is a brace that provides stability, where as conventional style putting is one taking on the skill level required to control your hands during a stroke when there's lots riding on it. Putting conventional style requires skill and nerves, which is what every other club in the bag requires. The argument can be made that anchored style putting is not even a stroke in that the club has not been swung. The grip is part of the club, and in fact is not swung in a long putter, belly putter anchored motions. Technically speaking, regarding the current rules, these two examples can't constitute a stroke being taken in my subjective opinion, as the grip isn't moving from where its anchored. As I read the rules, you have to swing the club at the ball. To me the club being swung would include seeing the grip being swung, since the grip makes up a part of the club. The grip in these two anchored motions is not being swung, therefor the club hasn't been swung. So how could these two anchored motions constitute a stroke being taken?

The one precedent that can't be set is a constituted time frame. In such a world the USGA might never be able to make a rules revision. The sport has been around since the 15th century. Golf has evolved from the feathery and gutta percha to titanium, graphite, and solid core golf balls. If the USGA were to take on any of these new materials in the future I'd hate to see the argument made that "it" existed for x number of years therefor you USGA can't change that rule. NO, timeframes would be a poor precedent to establish and the USGA would be handcuffed from making rules revisions concerning any rules revisions in the future.

Define what swinging the club means and lets all move on.
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
''Has Finchem ever gone on the record with his personal opinion on the subject?''

I tried to post a verse, but it has not appeared--I guess the spam filter is worried about the copyright on a 50 year old song----
but he said...

"give me money....

that's what I want''
digger, do you know why I ask this?

Lets think about a few things....

- There's one thing we know for sure, Finchem wants what Finchem wants -- this is not open to debate.
- I bet I would get zero pushback saying Finchem wants what Finchem wants, regardless of what players think. Yes?
- We also know Finchem is an inside the beltway trained political operative.

So, let's say that deep down Finchem is against anchoring and would prefer to see it banned...however, he's smart enough to realize he can't just cram down an anchoring ban without going though the motions...what to do?

Here's how it looks...

On the sly Flinchum gives Mike Davis a wink and says "I got this one, have your response ready". He then lets the information gathering process run its course and duly accepts the PAC board recommendation. In turn he delivers the result and talks about it on TV a little. In less time than it takes 2 PGA Tour players to play 3 holes the USGA puts out their press release/response.

In another 60 days the USGA will either ban anchoring, or not. Lets presume they do, now what?

If Flinchum is personally in favor of the ban I can absolutely see him cramming it down regardless of how further player polling turns out. Flinchum- "sorry fellas, we tried our best, gotta take one for the team here, long putters are out".

By the time 2016 rolls around he will only have 1 or 2 more years left in the saddle so what does he care about how an anchoring ban may or may not affect the tour broadly?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
wasn't there a rule that said there could be no waist in a grip
before 1990?
I'm not being argumentative, I thought there was a rule and somehow the paddle grip
slipped through, until Silhouette Grips came out. These had a waist and were made for clubs
other than putters. When they were to be outlawed, I seem to remember that the company tried to
use the paddle grip as part of defense, which ended with the USGA outlawing that grip as well.

Now, this was a long time ago, and I too was a paddle grip guy (still miss it). My memory may be shady,
it's been known to happen, but it's how I remember the USGA screwing my putting up for years!! hahaa
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
wasn't there a rule that said there could be no waist in a grip
before 1990?
I'm not being argumentative, I thought there was a rule and somehow the paddle grip
slipped through, until Silhouette Grips came out. These had a waist and were made for clubs
other than putters. When they were to be outlawed, I seem to remember that the company tried to
use the paddle grip as part of defense, which ended with the USGA outlawing that grip as well.

Now, this was a long time ago, and I too was a paddle grip guy (still miss it). My memory may be shady,
it's been known to happen, but it's how I remember the USGA screwing my putting up for years!! hahaa
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
Mr. Finchem keeps stating that there is no competitive advantage. My question would be if there is no competitive advantage then why is this so important to you to stop the rule?
02.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
im sorry
Don't know why it keeps double posting
02.24.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner

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