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Thursday
Feb282013

Tim Finchem's "No Competitive Advantage" Canard 

My colleague Sam Weinman is probably right that there are probably bigger issues in the game to be quibbling over than the proposed anchoring ban. I might have agreed, until the entire episode took on a new, bizarre and disconcerting twist when Commissioner Tim Finchem made his case last weekend by severely stretching the truth. And as Frank Hannigan pointed out in his letter to this site, Finchem had a long time to prepare his case.

The wise readers of this site knew it right away, and now the media is now calling him out. It should be noted, as I pointed out on Morning Drive Monday, that Finchem may just be doing the bidding (for a change) for his players, and averting a lawsuit. But a master debater who has had over a year to prepare a rebuttal failed so badly that his national television appearance could reflect poorly on the PGA Tour.

Jaime Diaz dismantles all of Finchem's key arguments for opposing the anchoring ban in a must-read Golf World column.

The lethal paragraph:

It would have been easier to accept if the commissioner hadn't been so obviously spinning. Like claiming that 20 percent of amateurs anchor, which is patently ridiculous compared to Golf Datatech research that puts the number at less than 5 percent. Or saying that the USGA had allowed anchoring since 1975 when the first long-putter cases occurred in the mid-1980s. Or maintaining that the USGA and R&A have conceded that anchoring provides no competitive advantage, when the associations have taken no stance on that criteria. Or that Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley "grew up" with the belly putter, when Simpson switched from conventional in college and Bradley a year after turning pro. All things the old debate champion wouldn't have done with a real opponent in front of him.

Robert Lusetich refers to Finchem's "bullying tactics" and highlights how the debate shifted with Finchem not exactly refuting the prevailing view of players that its unfair to have amateurs making the rules of golf:

Instead of arguing the merits of anchoring, proponents have twisted the debate, making it more about the USGA and R&A.

They persuaded PGA Tour players by preying on their historic dislike of golf’s ruling bodies; on the idea that amateurs shouldn’t be deciding what professionals can and cannot do.

They said that the USGA has allowed anchoring for 40 years, that’s there’s no data showing a competitive advantage for anchoring — a dubious assertion given many bad putters anchor, thus dragging down performance data — and that it won’t grow the game, as many golfers with the yips would stop playing.

“The USGA approved it twice,” Finchem noted.

And of course, they did not, something Bob Harig addressed already.

Michael Williams at GolfWRX also takes on the Commissioner and says "golf must be honest and consistent about its reasons" for banning anchoring, and he says the USGA/R&A has held up their end of the bargain. By going on national television the way Finchem did while uttering factually problematic statements, Williams says Finchem failed the game when he tried to pass off the "no competitive advantage" canard.

Finchem said in an interview there there was an “absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring.” In one sense, he is correct. Of the top 20 percent of the Tour’s leading putters, none used an anchored putter. But the point is not if the long putter makes a given player statistically better than everyone else; the only meaningful statistic is if it makes the player better than he or she might have been using an unanchored putter with a conventional stroke. While the Tour has no way to compile such statistics, you can bet the players and their putting gurus do. If the putter works by the numbers on the practice green, then you can bet they are going to bring it to the course.

The USGA/R&A never conceded this "no competitive advantage" point. They made clear this is about the potential that an anchored stroke may provide a competitive advantage and may alter the competitive challenge of making a stroke.

The USGA/R&A emphasized that its proposal "comes in response to the recent upsurge in the use of anchored putting strokes at all levels of the game, combined with growing advocacy by players and instructors that anchoring the club may alleviate some of the inherent challenges of traditional putting and therefore may be a preferred way to play the game."

And: "The player’s challenge is to direct and control the movement of the entire club in making the stroke. Anchoring the club removes the player’s need to do so by providing extra support and stability for the stroke, as if one end of the club were physically attached to the body.”  

So here's the big problem with the "no competitive advantage" talking point Finchem presented: anchorers say that this method of lodging hand against torso does not provide them an advantage, but the moment it was suggested the governing bodies might take that anchoring option away, they said they would their living would be fundamentally impacted if not for the ability to anchor.

Who needs data when you get admissions like that?

And then there's Tim Clark's "plight."

Randall Mell talked to some players at the Honda Classic Tuesday who admitted that Clark's sad saga of genetic condition convinced them to oppose the ban.

Another canard.

“Tim Clark got up and said some things that were very sincere, about his livelihood and his family,” said Brandt Jobe, who was there. “When Tim spoke, that really impacted players who would have been on the fence. A lot of people who didn’t really care that much were affected by the points Tim made that night and decided, ‘I’m going in that direction.’”

Clark has a genetic condition that prevents him from turning his forearms and wrists inward. He has used a long putter for several years.

And under the proposed rule change, Clark will (A) be able to continue to use the same exact putter he uses now, and (B) will be able to grip that putter exactly the same way he has before, with one difference: the putter must not be anchored to his torso.

Clark and those with similar physical ailments merely have to move the putter 1/2 to 1 inch from their bodies.

Same grips. Same putters. Only now they have to use only their hands and arms to stroke the ball.

Naturally, we all know these pros are unhappy about this simple shift because they believe they have gained a competitive advantage in anchoring the putter against their torso. Trying to claim anything otherwise while also suggesting livelihoods will be impacted means the "no competitive advantage" claim is an outright falsehood. And this is why any empathy some of us might have had for professional anchorers will be abandoned. (As for amateur yippers who may give up the game, that's another subject entirely and I don't know the answer.)

Professional golfing anchorers have a little less than four years to move their putter grip just millimeters away from their chest. In light of the mistruths they've spread after a good-faith effort by the governing bodies to hear their feedback, the USGA and R&A must call Tim and Tim's bluff and usher in the proposed Rule 14-1b ban.

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Reader Comments (85)

Blimey .. pretty much a demolition job by the media.

Well done chaps!
A vent. Tim Clarke - you're a deadset arsehole. You've made more than 30 million + dollars from golf and are complaining like an old fart because you illegal putting stroke is going to be banned. Go stuff yourself. Putt like a proper golfer and maybe see what an ordinary person has to live like. And what a loud of bullshit about not been able to putt normal. FFS - you can swing a club, why not swing a putter.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIan B
Right on guys!
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGordon G
You're dead wrong on this, Geoff. This isn't about anchoring. That's a head fake made up by the USGA to deflect the unthinking from focusing on what's really going on. This is about the USGA, for the first time ever, purporting to regulate HOW a stroke is made. Not defining a stroke. They've done that forever. Not regulating stance. They've done that for quite a while, too. But HOW to swing the club.

Their own pronouncement proves this: "... the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club."

Really? THE golf swing? In the singular? The USGA now believes that there is only one golf swing out there?

Folks, it's insulting, presumptuous and borderline totalitarian for the USGA to mandate HOW a golf swing must be made. This sport has a long and beautiful history of funky swings that work. The USGA should be celebrating that, not regulating it out of existence.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Hmmm, some of that looks awfully familiar ;-)
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
The USGA claims this ruling is to preserve tradition.

Hogwash!

The traditional gold grip is a split grip, with the hands inches apart. By the USGA's logic, though, they'd have banned the Vardon Grip because it was non-traditional and provided a competitive advantage.

If this ruling stands, it will be lousy, horrible precedent. It'll give enable the ruling bodies to mandate any change to how a club is swung they want. Remember the old days when everybody lifted their left heel on the backswing, before Freddie Couples popularized keeping it planted? Well, THAT was non-traditional... But if the ruling bodies wanted to, they'd now have precedent to mandate that the left heel be raised on the backswing.

Don't fall for the headfake of anchoring. There is a much larger principle at stake here.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Was thinking about this 13 of 15 number being kicked around regarding the PAC Board and their vote against anchoring...

...(i) thought there were 16 members and (ii) wonder who voted for the ban? Likely suspects? Two jump right out at me...

Here's the list recently posted by Geoff:

2013 Player Advisory Council

Aaron Baddeley*
Jason Bohn
Andres Gonzales*
Jeff Gove
Charley Hoffman
Doug LaBelle II*
Scott Langley*
Davis Love III <-- suspect 1.
Joe Ogilvie
Geoff Ogilvy <-- suspect 2.
Ryan Palmer*
Webb Simpson
Brendan Steele*
Kevin Streelman
Bo Van Pelt
Mark Wilson <--on record opposes ban.

*Indicates first-time PAC member
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Why can't the rules cover how we play the game but not how we swing? Who cares if you Sam Snead sidesaddle, putt like it's a pool cue, anchor, even a Happy Gilmore tee shot. Everyone could anchor and we'd still have many who are more skillful at it than others. Rules should tell me where to drop, when to play, but why bother how we swing..or hinge? As Shivas said, it seems overly controlling and it certainly wont' help grow the game. May not hurt growth, but it won't help.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGolfGuru
Don't fall for the obfuscation by yet another lawyer on here.

Ban anchoring.

The momentum is clearly on your side, USGA/R&A. Do it.

Ian B., I think your assessment of Clark is spot on. It's all about him.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
Precisely, Guru. Golf survived for 400+ years without a ruling body at all, and even since the advent of ruling bodies, it has survived just fine because the people governing the game understood the spirit of the game and were never arrogant enough (not once!) to tell people how to swing their golf clubs. They left that to the individual player to figure out - precisely because that is one of the great joys and challenges of the game in the first place! So they left well enough alone, leaving the player solely responsible for figuring out how to make his stroke.

The folks running the USGA these days lack the humility to understand that some things are best left unregulated. But power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So here we are - with an historically reserved, humble body taking a GIANT step in terms of what they regulate - and not caring a whit about this gargantuan break from precedent. I'm just surprised more people aren't calling foul here. Not for anchoring, per se. Not for long putters, per se. But rather for the simple principle that its YOUR golf swing they're meddling with - and they have no right to tell you HOW to swing!!
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Anchoring is not swinging a golf club. Its swinging a lever about a fulcrum. And thats not golf 400 years ago as you point out and its not now thanks to ruling bodies taking a stance about something.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Well said, Shivas. As far as Finchem.... "Finchem may just be doing the bidding (for a change) for his players,.... I hope so. Isn't that his job?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Fred Muggs
I fail to see how a genetic defect prevents a golfer from making a conventional stroke with a putter but at the same time does not prevent him from making a full swing with every other club in the bag? Am I missing something here?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAubrey
Shivas +1
This whole competive advantage makes no sense anyway. Geoff, by your logic, an anchorer who complains is, in effect, proving that it is an advantage. But what of the non-anchorers? If they haven't switched to the belly or long putter, aren't they, in effect, proving it is NOT an advantage. Why would a touring pro not use every advantage afforded them? You can argue it both ways.
Anchoring is simply another method that works for some and not for others. Nick Price once went thru a terrible stretch of golf before he realized the lie angles on his clubs had changed. After fixing them, he regained his pure ball-striking form. Ban Mitchell lie/loft machines and make them play clubs off the rack!
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShady golf
You've fallen for the headfake, Amen. What does a pendulum do? It SWINGS! What does a swing on a swing set do? It SWINGS! That's why they're called swings!

Of course anchoring is a swing! It's just a better swing. A swing that golfers - charged with figuring out how to make the best possible stroke - came up with to eliminate a variable in the swing. That's what it is. A better swing. The USGA, in their announcement, even stated their concern that the anchored swing may be a "preferable way to play the game".

So let me get this straight? The USGA wants to mandate a swing that people DON'T prefer? Is that their mission - to pilfer preferred swings from people? To make golfers make swings they want to make? To mandate unpreferred methods to preserve a "challenge" of putting. That's preposterous. They've missed the REAL challenge of the game: each player has to conjure up the stroke that works for HIM!

The USGA has all but admitted their underlying motivation here. The power to take things away from people should be used judiciously. And the USGA is showing a glaring lack of judgment and prudence here.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
I also think the argument that banning the anchored putting stroke will drive amateurs from the game is a red herring. I've played golf for 20 years, almost all of that at public courses. I've seen some wacky, non-USGA conforming equipment being used all over the place. The fact is, the vast majority of golfers are not interested in playing in competitive events regulated by USGA rules. 95% of golfers just want to get out of the house for 5 hours, get some sun, drink some beers and have fun with a great game. The USGA can ban the anchored stroke and most amateurs won't really care. They'll continue to use their long putters because no one can tell them that they can't and they'll still enjoy the game. As for the amateurs who want to play competitively in tournaments where the USGA rules apply, they will find an alternative to the anchored putter. They aren't going to leave the game they love and choose to play competitively because of this ban. No chance. Otherwise, they never really loved the game.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris from DE
"So here's the big problem with the "no competitive advantage" talking point Finchem presented: anchorers say that this method of lodging hand against torso does not provide them an advantage, but the moment it was suggested the governing bodies might take that anchoring option away, they said they would their living would be fundamentally impacted if not for the ability to anchor."

The corollary you draw here is wrong. How could it NOT impact their livelihood when they are forced to, in essence, start over with a new method? They have already put in the time to hone their current method. This has little or nothing to do with "competitive advantage" more like a "competitive preference". It would be like saying, "left handed golf is banned please start over from the other side of the ball, Phil." I'm thinking there would be a significant impact to his livelihood.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkduerr
I think the players are going to come across as whiners.

I think the USGA is defending something preferred by the R&A.

If anchoring isn't an advantage, just a skill set, then taking away one small skill set from the game won't ruin it.

Keep in mind Shivas uses the long putter.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
I agree, Chris. There are lots of red herrings floating around on this issue. The "competitive advantage" argument is a red herring because this method is available to all; thus, nobody has an advantage. The "it's easier" argument is a red herring for Te same reasons. The "swing the entire club" argument is a red herring, too.

Bottom line: the best decisions are those guided by fundamental principles. The USGA is being guided by mechanical concepts that in the grand scheme of things are minutia compared to the fundamental principle that the golfer is on his own to determine the best method of stroke for him! That's Golf 101, guys. It's been that way for 500+ years. The true joy of the game is figuring it out for yourself!

The irony here is palpable. The USGA runs around mowing down chipping area and manufacturing driveable par 4s for their championships and gets on TV and evangelized choices, creativity, and making the golfer think about, choose from, and play a variety of shots. Then, in the next breath, they take away that choice, pulling one of those shots from him - because it might be a "preferred way" to play the shot? WTHIT?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Lynn: I hope you're well. I fail to see how my occasional use (I actually carry 2 putters and do, in fact, choose which to use for every putt) of the long putter is relevant to the principled arguments I make on this issue. It's the principles that matter. It's best to stick to those.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Shivas you make compelling arguments and points. You are obviously intelligent and articulate. None of that matters when it comes to the point that you should not now or ever have been allowed to place a club against your body thereby reducing the margin for error. Period. Swinging, anchoring, fulcrums, levers, yes its all swinging in the technical semantic sense but anchoring a golf club is not swinging a golf club. Its a clever way to circumvent the fundamenatal principle you espouse.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmen Coroner
Last post on this: the "competitive advantage" argument is the biggest canard of them all.

OF COURSE, it's a competitive advantage - or at least a perceived competitive advantage. That's the whole point!

Show of hands: who here is playing clubs or balls or shoes or a golf glove or anything else that is purposely worse than what's available to them in order to obtain a DIS-advantage? Who here purposely takes out the wrong club so that even if they hit it perfect, it won't go where you want the ball to go? Who here hits it into the trees or the water or hits the ball sky-high into a 3 club wind instead of a knock-down so his ball can land 30 hards short of his target on purpose to gain a competitive DIS-advantage? Everything you do in golf - all your equipment, every line of charm you take, every club you pull, all of it - is because you perceive an advantage. The game of golf is ALL ABOUT perceived competitive advantage. And every guy using the short putter is using it because they perceive it as a better way to putt. So what?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
From the SuperStroke putter grip website...

SuperStroke Flatso DB == The SuperStroke FLATSO series pushes the boundaries of USGA grip size limit regulations.

The FLATSO DB features a non-tapered design with pentagonal cross-section. These characteristics inhibit wrist action and promote shoulder rotation for consistency in your putting stroke.

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

"These characteristics inhibit wrist action..."

Is this a publicly traded company? Can we short the stock? Will the USGA ban them?

I'm seeing a lot more of these than long putters...
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Good to see the media is actually thinking about issues rather than rubber stamping the Tour. It is obvious Finchem is not being totally forthright. Why is that? Why are many Tour pros going with that view?

I believe in the USGA and the R&A. Putting is the most important "stroke" a player makes. Missing just one more 5 footer on tour each round means being on the PGA Tour and not being on the Tour. If that "stroke" is less of a stroke, less influenced by nerves, less influenced by talent, is that right? Is that fair? Well, everyone can use it. Sure, they can (at least for now). But it doesn't mean it is right and in the spirit of the game. And the player that is fairly average helped in his instance by the anchored putter is allowed to stay on Tour then what about the guy trying to get on Tour. Is it fair to that guy?

Is anchoring a stroke or not? It is not free flowing and it sure seems to me that that is not right. If it isn't such an advantage why don't the guys just go to the non-anchored stroke? What would be the big deal? Why fight so hard for it? We all like change, it isn't the worst thing in the world. Move on. Our government just raised taxes, it made us all keep less of our money but we have to go along with it. That is the ruling body. Well, the USGA and the R&A are golf's ruling bodies and we may not like it but the rules are the rules.

I feel sorry for Tim Clark in the sense of his physical challenges. But he has made a very good living and just how the govt changes the rules and causes people to lose their jobs this is sadly a result. It is about the game, not about Tim Clark. Adapt or move on.

For the amateur playing at the club, use the anchored putter if you so believe it is fair and right and allows you to enjoy the game. If anyone feels like they can't than please make sure you putt everything out, never take a mulligan, go back to the previous shot when a ball is lost, etc. Play by all the rules. I have a friend who uses the anchored stroke, he feels his world will be over with a ban. Here is a guy that takes 3 footers as gimmes, takes a mulligan on the first hole often, and drops a ball if he can't find (of course taking a 1 stroke penalty). I mean come on, if you are doing that, you are not playing fully by the rules and therefore use the anchored stroke.

Anchoring is not a stroke. Personally I believe there is an advantage for some (why would they use it if there wasn't for them?). Sure it is not foolproof (Adam Scott) but if it helps on just one putt a round it is not fair to others in the tournament. I hope that the USGA and the R&A go through with teh ban, it is just not right to anchor.

Lynn is correct, the players are coming across poorly in this debate. They should be careful how they handle this.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Shivas, I like your passion and much of your argument. However, whilst 'figuring out the best stroke for oneself' is a fine concept I believe the governing bodies are correct in banning the anchored stroke. I contend that this stroke is contrary to the history of the game in that it offers a stabilizing factor to the 'traditional' stroke. I believe two (or one) hands should be the only part of the golfer's body in contact with the club. B. Langer's forearm grip would, in my view, be banned. Controlling one's anxiety is essential to what I believe to be proper golf and anchoring lessens that requirement. If one has the yips, tough luck. You're no longer as good as you once were, move along. Like many, I don't believe this ruling will be a gamechanger for the weekend warrior. Nor should it. But competitive golf should have rules and continuity with history. Now, if I could only get them to dial back on distances the modern ball flies... Next week, maybe.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeefer
Shivas,, how bout I take a putter and get down on my knees and use it like a pool cue. Is that allowed in your world?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrad
Shivas...would you have an issue with someone sweeping the ball into the hole? Or standing on the opposite side of the hole and "pulling" the ball towards the hole? Just wondering how liberal you want to be in allowing people to hit the ball in any method they see fit.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
To add to my above post, how about placing the club behind the ball in a bunker and scooping or flinging it out of the sand? That is still "swinging" the club as it moves from the starting point to somewhere else. Once you set some type of limit on what constitutes a swing, then allowing people to do whatever they want is out the window.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
anchoring is not an advantage, if it was, you see all of them using this method...azinger said it best "it's not like 460cc drivers, super golf ball, or graphite shafts" everyone uses them because the advantage is there..not the same with anchored putters
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphneWB
Steve-

The scenarios you describe have long ago been accounted for in the Rules:

14-1. Ball To Be Fairly Struck At
The ball must be fairly struck at with the head of the club and must not be pushed, scraped or spooned.


The point here is that they are going backwards. If they wanted to outlaw them, it should have been done years ago. When Sam Snead went croquet style they outlawed it fairly quickly. Not years and years after people had dedicated countless valuable practice hours to perfecting something they had no reason to believe would be banned.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkduerr
kduerr,
You asked "How could it NOT impact their livelihood when they are forced to, in essence, start over with a new method?"

This is where Finchem's other truth stretching point obviously was clever because it worked on you: he cited two players in making the claim they've grown up with this method, "Webb and Keegan." But as Jaime Diaz noted, both players are fairly recent converts. They have putted the other way. They are not in any way starting over.
02.28.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
I think the internet, especially blogs, have made us all feel omniscient on all issues. Mostly this one and how we decide what a organization and the people affected real intentions are. Golf will be still be golf no matter how this goes down.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterImportanceOfUs
DaphneWB

Anchoring is an advantage for some. Do you think it is an advantage for Ernie Els? Look at the short putt he missed at Innisbrook when his nerves were at a high. Then look at how he putted at The Open. How about Adam Scott? Would Adam Scott be where he is today without using the long putter? Would Scott have even contended at The Open?

Look at what Ernie Els has said. Look at what Tiger thinks about this. The USGA does not want to punish anyone, they want the game to be played correctly, where physical and mental skills are allowed to shine.

Look at the ball, 460cc club heads, titanium, etc independently. Two wrongs do not make a right. And just because it wasn't acted on earlier doesn't mean it shouldn't be acted on now.

There is a fundamental question. Is anchoring a stroke? Is it in the spirit and intent of the game?

To me this is very important at the highest levels of the game. I don't care who wins a club championship at Oakwood CC or Oak Hills etc. I don't even care about who wins at the John Deere, or San Diego, or Sony. But we are talking about the most important and greatest championships in the world, The Open, The US Open, the Masters, the US Am, etc. These are greatness. Look at the company one joins when winning these. The winners had to hold their nerve to win. Many did not. Look at how Byron Nelson felt about nerves. Greatness is overcoming a challenge.

Don't you think anchoring lesses the risk of nerves affecting a putt? That is the point of anchoring. Shouldn't nerves (and the controlling of nerves) be a part of a true champion?

The game has always been special, we need to make sure it remains special. We need to respect and obey the rules, we need to have integrity, and we need to respect the game and the other players. We need to protect older courses, we need to open the game to others by reducing costs, by speeding up play. It is not about making it easier, or taking skill and nerves out of the game. I have played with 35 handicaps that have a great deal of fun on the golf course and plus 2s that are miserable. The challenge brings us back but so does the friendships, the environment. We have a lot to do in order to maintain greatness and integrity. Anchoring is just one part of that puzzle.

I personally don't care how anyone on this board putts (assuming no one on this board doesn't play at the highest national and international levels - profession and amateur). Just as I don't care if anyone takes a gimme or a mulligan or even drops a ball instead of a distance and stroke penalty. But when you play for the claret jug etc that does matter and those players should not anchoring and reduce the impact of nerves.

Please think about these things. Maybe I am right, maybe I am wrong. But this is what I believe and I think many others do as well. But it is not what we believe, it is what the R&A and the USGA believe is best. Sure some of the rules (moving a leaf in a hazard when the leaf doesn't improve your stroke) are silly in my opinion. But those are the rules, we must respect them. Just as we respect our government etc. It is the best for society and the game. It is bigger than Tim Clark, Keegan Bradley etc.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
ImportenceOFUs,

I think you are right. But I think it extends further. It is more cultural nowadays. Look at the Tour Players, look at politicians, pundits, etc. The media (which is everywhere 24/7) demands an answer to everything. And people can make a very good living giving their "knowledge" about everything.

There are many people on this site that are really, really knowledgable. I think the beauty of a site like this is to learn. People can tell who knows their stuff and who doesn't. It is pretty obvious to me at least.

Debate and discussion are good as long as it stays respectful. Together we are greater than individually I believe. I may not agree with some but I do respect what they write, think about it, and I try to better my knowledge (or lack thereof).

You are right, we have no idea of what their intentions are. I think we can have a pretty good guess about Keegan, Clark, etc but knowing what Stricker, etc are thinking is more difficult. But they are just guesses, hopefully better informed guesses.

You note of caution is appreciated as we all should be reminded of the hazards of getting too far out from our skis.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Kdeurr...I wasn't saying those methods weren't addresed in the Rule, just trying to figure out how liberal Shivas wants to be with allowing any method of hitting the ball. If he is fine with the language in 14-1, then he doesaccpet some restrictions on how a player can hit the ball...once you accept that there can be restrictions, then his argument starts to fall apart.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
I've mentioned this before.
I use a short putter, play a little competitive golf, and am over 50. The ban would HELP me competitively.

But.
There are two members at my club, who are good guys, play member guests, the friday game,etc.
Without a doubt, one of them will not be able to play without his broomstick. He can not pull the putter back, it's awful.
The other isn't as bad, but has Parkinson's and he literally chunks putts normally.

In effect, in most people's eyes these two are casualties of war. How many people will this chase out? Don't know, but how many are acceptable?

*ps thing is, the guy with PArkinsons is trying regular putters on the practice green due to the ban.
It's like two different people
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenter20/20 rearview
Steve and Brad: I would have no issue with a man standing on one side of his line and trying to deliver a pool-like stroke with the head of the club contacting the ball, not the butt of the grip. I would not only have no problem with it, I would like to regularly play that guy for money!

As for the sweep from the other side, that is and always has been illegal because it is not a stroke.

The governing bodies have log defined what a stroke is - and it has to do with the strike of the club and the ball - it has nothing to do with the free flow of the arms, and NEVER has.

Guys, this so-called historical principle the USGA is citing is nothing more than anecdotal coincidence. Yes, for a long time, people putted the conventional way. Then something better (for some) came along. Why is that so noxious to so many? It's still a stroke. Its still a swing. (I think I took Amen Coroner aback when I reminded him that a swing-set swing is still a SWING!). It's really not fundamentally different than any other swing technique that seeks to neutralize a variable. Get ready guys, the next thing on the USGA mandatory swing technique checklist just might be a mandatory amount of hip turn, or a prohibition on reverse pivots. You think the long putter is ugly? I find a reverse pivot far uglier! So I say ban it, since we all now know (through the wisdom of the USGA) that there is only one way to swing a golf club...they said so themselves.

The more I read threads like this, the more I realize how many people will just follow whatever the USGA says, no matter how inane, illogical or contrary to the spirit and traditions of the game. These people have LET YOU DOWN time and time again on the ball, the 460cc drivers, cavity backs so large you can take a shot of whiskey out of the back of them, etc. But we think they're somehow right this time? Why? Because they told you - suddenly, out of nowhere, for the first time ever, and out of whole cloth - that two free flowing arms are the be-all and end-all fundamental underpinning of the game? This group has let the game down time and again. They are literally making it up as they go along, reacting to the latest complaint du jour instead of being thoughtful stewards of the principles of the game. This is just one more example. They are taking your golf swing from you! For 500 years, how you swing has been up to you and you alone. If that isn't a fundamental principle, then I don't know what is.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
Steve: I am distinguishing between a stroke and a swing. You can swing the club any way you want, as long as you make a stroke. The stroke describes club/ball contact - and always has. The swing, however, describes body movement. That body movement has NEVER been regulated by ANY governing body until now. Why do you think that is? My answer: because prior stewards of the game had the good sense and restraint to realize that just because you can do something doesn't mean that you should! They respected the long tradition of funky (often desperate) attempts by men to make a better swing! That is the player's province; it does not belong to Far Hills.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShivas
20/20 Rearview,

Sorry about those 2 players. Why not make a local rule allowing anchoring for club events, Friday games? It sounds like people at your club would be willing to have them in the games. And why not?

But why should these two players affect who holds the Claret Jug, etc? I think there is a danger of the tail wagging the dog.

NO ONE will stop the average guy playing a round by anchoring. Just as NO ONE stops someone from taking gimmes, mulligans etc.

This is how we do things nowadays. Suggest the average guy will be hurt in order to protect the elite. It happens in politics and now the playbook is being used on this issue in golf. Smart tactics but that doesn't make them right.

My instinct tells me that very few people will leave the game. They'll use the long putter (and take gimmes and mulligans) and play on as always.

I wonder how many average players have thrown out and stopped using their unconforming wedges? Hmmmmmmm Did that cause people to leave the game?
02.28.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
Shivas,

Are you saying many of the pro-ban people here are more or less following whatever the USGA says, without independent thought of their own?

If that is the case, I think you are wrong.
02.28.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg

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