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Golf World Feature: "Behind Closed Doors."

In his latest blog post, PGA of America President Ted Bishop writes that watching Adam Scott win "was probably as painful as swallowing a handful of nails for USGA and R&A officials."

The increasingly confrontational tone between Bishop's PGA and Peter Dawson's R&A is just one of the many topics covered in my Golf World feature from Augusta, posted on

The centerpiece topic, of course, is the Woods ruling and the handling by Fred Ridley as yet another recent black eye for casual observers of the Rules.

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Reader Comments (40)

We all know those casual observers are the ones that need to be appeased. After all, they are the market.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman
NRA : gun owners = PGA : anchorers.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterFT
Not really, Ted. It appears the vast majority are happy for Adam. What's as painful as swallowing a handful of nails is watching you and others act like a brat when someone reaches for your lollypop.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
I've looked everywhere, FT. I can't seem find Anchored Putter.
Nice article Geoff.

I do believe I have finally found a reason to respect Peter Dawson ...

"Actually, it was an early week confrontation that really had gossipers buzzing underneath Augusta National's big oak. After Bishop tried to initiate a friendly conversation with R&A chief executive Peter Dawson by contending his organization's position was "nothing personal," Dawson replied that it was "very personal" to the R&A and that the damage done by the PGA of America's opposition had made the fissure between the organizations "irreparable." Rather than respond, Bishop walked away."

Ya beauty!
Good going, Mr. Dawson.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
excellent reporting...but what else should one expect (vis a vis augusta, etc.) in a tournament that is essentially a member-guest in which the members don't play? when will someone be brave enough to call it amateur hour instead of all the hoo-hah about how "well" it is run? really? ask the folks outside the gates...speaking of which, about all the "beauty"--when will someone be brave enough to let us see Washington Road, say from the blimp that is otherwise ubiquitous as pro golf events? and what is so beautiful about a landscape that requires underground heating, thousands of man-hours to take care, etc. etc.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commentercarl vigeland
Just want to make sure that this is the same peter Dawson who desecrated and disfigured TOC in the most underhanded and cowardly way. Is he really the guy that you want to champion? Are you 100% sure that the r&a and the usga are 100% correct about anchoring? Really? No wiggle room? No room for differing opinions? Especially when the absolutist decree comes from two horribly discredited organizations?
How utterly childish of Dawson to splutter and rudely walk away. Totally in keeping.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoe
@ joe ... it was Bishop who "rudely" walked away.

First rule of wumming ... get your facts right!
"when will someone be brave enough to let us see Washington Road"

those guys working the street up there love Masters Week, believe me :o)
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
None the less @C&C Mr. Dawson was roundly flogged here for the changes to TOC. There is no reason for him to take a differing opinion on a change to the rules of golf "very personally." People skilled in high level dealings would have gotten cross organizational consensus before hand. People that take the 'my way is right you little people just don't understand' approach are eventually hit with problems because you have to be 'right' everytime.

(I had never heard of Mr. Dawson before TOC renovations so I have no history on which to base this opinion of him, but this is the internet after all)
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
Bishop is starting to look a little nutty--one note wonder
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commentersmails
Hilarious.....Dawson knew the Because Thesis would ot fly so he quit!
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Great article Geoff.

I wonder why more has not been made of the Augusta newspaper's analysis of Tiger's drop (reported by Geoff several posts back). Did Tiger think he dropped it back 2 yards but actually didn't? All is very unusual.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim Beckner
Smails, agree on Bishop.

He does come off as nutty.

I would also throw in the word "buffoon".

The ban will cometh, hallelujah!
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
I don't think the Augusta Chronicle photos were any more conclusive than the video angle, and more important, Tiger said Sunday when asked that he definitely did not drop in the same spot. So he deserves some credit for sticking with his story.
04.18.2013 | Registered CommenterGeoff
fyg, did you listen to the 50 minute conversation Rod Morri and Geoff had with Ted Bishop? If not take a listen and let us know if you want to stick with your "buffoon" characterization.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
One thing I still don't understand:

If Tiger's ball had gone off the flagstick onto the green and into the water, on a straight line between Tiger and the flagstick, would he then have been entitled to drop further back on that same line?
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDsl
Long Putter for Life.

This whole anti-long putter thing is BS. Ban the belly putter, sure. But not the long putter. Wake up, Golf, short putters are anchored too. See Jackie Burke talking about how he taught Jack to anchor. Or look at Palmer's anchor, or even Jones

Long Putter for Life. Make whatever rules you want, I'm not taking it out of my bag
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStone
loved the inside scoop Geoff....great article :)
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne
Jim- telephoto lens compressing the yardage. Photos are misleading because of this.

DSL- Yep. That would have been no problem, and I *think* that *he thought* he was ok, because he din't see that the ball had gone left.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
@ Stone ... you don't have to. It's just the method they're proposing to ban.
Stone -- nobody is banning the long putter. Under the proposed ban, you may use, but not anchor a putter of any length. This includes the short putter.

So, use your long putter for life. If you anchor it, just don't post your score for handicap purposes or compete in competitions that follow USGA rules. If you don't anchor it, then good luck in the US Open! No one says you have to take it out of your bag.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Bishop: "The field averaged 1.65 putts per green hit in regulation. Scott averaged 1.67, which was worse than the masses. When Els won the Open Championship at Lytham he was ranked 71st in overall putting. So, I would argue that the last two major winners using the anchored putting stroke did so on the merits of their ball striking, not their putting."

I would argue that neither would have won without the anchoring type "stroke." If we're going to play "ball striking," we should do what Hogan wanted to to, eliminate the putting and just have a 10 foot circle.

Disclaimer: I'm a crappy ball striker but a good putter.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterF. X. Flinn
Using anyone's stats as compared to the field as an argument that anchored putting doesn't help the anchorer is laughable and I'm getting sick of seeing it.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Now here's a stat that means something:

In 2009 and 2010, before going to the long putter, Adam ranked 180th and 186th on tour in strokes gained putting. In those years, he lost .888 and .746 strokes per round to the field on average, or to put it another way, 3.5 and 3 strokes per 72 holes. In 2011 and 2012, after the switch, Adam ranked 143rd and 148th on tour. In those years he lost .172 and .204 strokes per round to the field on average, or 0.7 and 0.8 strokes per 72 holes. In other words, after switching to the long putter for the 2011 season, Adam picked up over 2 shots against the field on the greens per tournament, and maintained that improvement into 2012.

So, Ted Bishop, how 'bout them apples?
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
RES, after going to the SuperStroke putter grip Jason Dufner rocketed up in the putting stats, ban that too?
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
As a golf rules official, I agree with final ruling. However, Ridley's Committee screwed up when they did not ask Tiger about his drop before he signed his scorecard on Thursday and they had reviewed video the first time. They could have assigned the two stroke penalty at that time and been done with it. They used Rule 33-7 the next morning to cover their behinds. The bigger issue is whether viewers should even be allowed to have input at all......and the Masters should have a roles official with each and every group.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterCrab spider

If we were banning equipment, then maybe the fat grip should be banned, too. But since we aren't banning equipment, it's apples and oranges.

Frankly, I would like to ban anything that helps anyone other than me putt better! Including putting practice!

I know your beef with the USGA is that they aren't being forthright and won't just admit that they don't like the way the stroke looks. I don't disagree with you that the USGA is being somewhat disingenuous, although I think there is more to the argument that it is not a proper stroke than you do. I'm not saying that the reason to ban it is found in the stats. I'm just refuting Ted Bishop and all the other people who very incorrectly use the wrong stats to try to defend their anti-ban stance.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
RES, it appears that Adam is more comfortable putting this way but citing stats of a single player who remains a below average putter certainly doesn't support the *competitive advantage* argument. In fact, part and parcel to the putter switch I'm told that Adam more than doubled the amount of time he practices putting and I'd ascribe 98% of his improvement to now just being mediocre on the greens to this extra practice.

Separately, let's not kid ourselves here, this is an equipment rule being otherwise cloaked so as to avoid litigation.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF, RES got ya.

Your are comparing oranges to "apples".

I'm not using stats to show that it's a competitive advantage. I'm using stats to show that it is stupid for Ted Bishop and others to try to use stats to show that it's *not* a competitive advantage.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
But just for fun:

Ernie 2011 ("anchoring is cheating): 181st in strokes gained putting; .699 shots per round lost to the field, or 2.8 shots per tournament

Ernie 2012 ('so I might as well cheat, too!): 112th in strokes gained putting; .084 shots per round lost to the field, or .33 shots per tournament

So, Ernie gained 2.5 shots on the field on the green per tournament with the belly putter.

These stats are getting inconvenient for Ted Bishop.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Digger, I love you man, but do you seriously think Tiger didn't see it go sideways? My big thing with the rules is it seems like every major where there are non-PGA Tour officials, there is a major rules snafu(PGA with Dustin Johnson). The guys on the Tour that deal with the egos every week of the year are just better equipped to deal with the pros. I'm not saying they know the rules better, many of the best are PGA club pros and sectional guys and USGA staff. But they aren't used to dealing with the touring professional and it's been proven by past major event problems.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
RES, Ernie's putting stats in 2012 were simply mediocre and again the amount of practice he put in on the greens is the overwhelming reason. Both Adam and Ernie simply progressed from really poor, to mediocre, by putting in a lot of hard work. Same for Charles Howell 3rd this year, practice, practice, practice. Players move around in the rankings all the time, both directions, all types of strokes.

BTW, Ernie Els used the belly putter for half of 2011, did you factor that in?

Why is it stupid to use stats to show anchoring is not a competitive advantage?

The two main premises put forth for the proposed anchoring edict are (i) a misplaced fear that the majority will putt this way at some undetermined point in the future and (ii) a generation of golfers will never learn to putt conventionally. There is absolutely zero evidence that either of these situations are even remotely plausible.....just a joke.

Come on people, just own up to the fact that you don't like the way it looks and it will make you feel better to ban it!
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF




It is stupid to use stats to show that anchoring is not a competitive advantage because the stats show that it *is* a competitive advantage! Only cherry-picking stats that are irrelevant allows one to say there is no advantage. Comparing Adam and Ernie to other players is not a measure of anchoring effect. Saying they are mediocre putters is not a measure of anchoring effect. Only comparing them to themselves pre and post anchoring is a measure of anchoring effect. And that comparison shows a huge competitive advantage for them from anchoring. One would have to be quite obtuse not to see that. Of course, in the face of the factual evidence you are always clamoring for, you decide instead to go with "practice" as the explanation for the improvement, so I have learned my lesson: you'll say anything to avoid admitting that someone else might have a point. Your obtuseness allows you to win every discussion by exhausting the hell out of everyone else.

As for Ernie, he "committed" to the belly putter after missing the cut at AAC in the 2011 PGA, and subsequenty played 15 rounds on tour with it through the, out of 65 total rounds for the year.

And for the record, I don't support the ban because of any competitive advantage or because of how it looks. I support it because I believe anchoring isn't a stroke, neither as currently defined nor within the spirit of the game. But I'm not going to discuss that with you.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterRES
RES, if anchoring truly offered a competitive advantage every single player on the PGA Tour would be using the stroke, and you know it. It really is as simple as that. Your position has no merit. Yes, really, no merit, none.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
And RES, the long putter went into Ernie's bag at the US Open in 2011 and by my count he played 33 competitive rounds on the PGA Tour from that point forward. If your 65 round count is accurate that's almost exactly half...close enough. Add in the Presidents Cup and it's way more than half. Check it out on Getty Images if you don't believe me -- every picture of Ernie from the US Open on shows him using a long putter.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
If I change shafts in my driver and hit 10% more fairways is that a competitive advantage? If I switch to cavity back irons and hit 2 more GIR per round, am I cheating? Golfers are always looking for a way to improve, to turn weaknesses into strengths. Wouldn't you be shocked if Ernie and Adam hadn't improved their putting stats? Why would they employ a method that wasn't getting them any results?
Let's take this further - adjustable drivers (or lead tape back in the day) can turn a nasty hook into a gentle fade. Is that fair to the guy who can square the clubface without all the tinkering? Doesn't that make driving the ball "too easy" and take the skill out of the game?
This is an EQUIPMENT issue. Don't ever underestimate the blue blazers. The new rule is Latin for the everyday golfer. The proposed ban is the death knell for the long putters. If you polled 100 golfers, I would be confident 90% would say the long putters are banned, not the anchored stroke. And, despite the mulligans and liberties they take with the rules of golf, the average golfer wants to play with conforming equipment. Any doubts, ask the folks at Callaway about the ERC II.
04.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterShady golf
Well put Shady golf.
04.19.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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