Old Tom (Watson) On Gov Bodies: "If they were going to do something about it, they should have done something about it a long time ago."
A packed Toshiba Classic press room (well, four of us) enjoyed a lively session with Tom Watson revealing a key to his Ryder Cup selection process and also some surprisingly strong words for the governing bodies he has long supported.
Here's the part on anchoring:
Q Your friends with the PGA of America, and you've been a strong proponent though of the USGA and the R&A and you've also suggested you have some mixed feelings about anchoring. What do you think of how things have played out?
TOM WATSON: I do have mixed feelings and have direct, you know, feelings because my son Michael was a very poor putter with a conventional putter. He went to a belly putter and he makes everything, and he loves the game because of it. The game is fun. He can play lousy and then gets on the greens and he makes everything. And, yes, I don't think it's a stroke. I'm still in that camp, but the reality of the situation is this. This has been allowed to go on for X number of years, 30 years, 40 years. It's unlike I think the croquet putter you saw Sam Snead, I think the USGA made a very quick decision on that, said you can't do this, Sam. I'm not sure whether Sam was the only guy doing it, but made a very quick decision on that particular stroke. They didn't wait 30 years to make a decision on the stroke. So I think that's the crux of the issue. There's too many players who have been using it, and the USGA hasn't done anything about it. USGA and R&A haven't done anything about it. If they were going to do something about it, they should have done something about it a long time ago.
What does everyone think of this "settled law" argument? It's certainly stronger than some of the arguments put forth, though it would be nice if the PGA Tour and PGA of America commissioned a study to provide some data that backs up the suggestion that we'll lose a lot of golfers over this.