Say what you want about PGA of America President Ted Bishop--and many have accused him of using the anchored putter debate to get attention--the man has not given up his fight for the average yipper. I for one, now admire his determination to look out for everyday golfers and empathize with his case for the everyday man who would like to continue to anchor his putter post-January 1, 2016.
Thanks to reader Carl for sending along Bishop's recent email to PGA members that reveals the PGA President's plan to attend February's USGA meeting along with Tim Finchem to present a case for a grandfather period for average hackers.
Greetings! I hope you had a wonderful Holiday Season. Now, it's time to turn our attention to 2014 and another exciting year of golf. On Feb. 8, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and I will jointly attend the USGA Executive Committee meeting in Pinehurst, N.C. Our main purpose will be to formally request a "grandfather period" for recreational amateurs who anchor long putters.
As you know, the USGA and the R&A have approved Rule 14-1b, which bans the anchored stroke, effective Jan. 1, 2016. The leadership at the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR both believe that it would be reasonable to offer recreational golfers who anchor a longer period of time to convert to the approved method of making a stroke. For example, when the "Grooves Rule" was instituted in 2009, the USGA allowed a 15-year "grandfather period" for amateurs to switch to conforming golf clubs.
We believe our request for a "grandfather period" can further assist you, the PGA Professional, in transitioning recreational golfers who do anchor, to the approved method.
To help support our request, I am asking you to submit real-life stories and/or case studies of players at your facility who may be adversely affected by this change in the Rules. We want specific names and details of those who may find it difficult to enjoy the game after Jan. 1, 2016. I encourage you to have players tell their own story, and I ask you to submit all stories and case studies to me at email@example.com, by Jan. 24. Our goal is to compile these stories and present them to the USGA Executive Committee in February.
The purpose of this exercise is to humanize the effects the anchoring ban likely will have on golfers. As the tangible link between the game and all who play it in this country, PGA Professionals can help tell these powerful stories.
We don't know what decision the USGA will make, but we do feel strongly that they should hear these real-life stories. Furthermore, this is a critical step in our pursuit to have a more direct and timely impact in the Rules process - a more viable seat at the table, if you will. As we move forward, we will continue to have these meetings with the USGA Executive Committee so that they can hear the viewpoint of our organizations.
Thanks for your help. We want the voices of golfers to be heard and PGA Professionals are the ones who can make it happen.
Ted Bishop, PGA
38th President The PGA of America
While I'm not too keen to read golfer sob stories about the yip cures they've enjoyed due to jamming a rod into their belly, I do understand their plight and asked Mr. Bishop to explain his thinking on the push to grandfather in the anchoring ban, and he replied with this statement:
"In July of 2013 when the PGA of America notified the USGA that we would adopt Rule 14-1b in our championships, we also asked for consideration of a "grandfather period" for recreational amateurs, similar to the process when the groove regulations were modified in 2008.
We have worked with Mike Davis and the USGA to set up a time when we could present our reasons to the Executive Committee for consideration of this grandfather period. This will take place in February at the USGA Annual Meeting.
We appreciate the opportunity to make this presentation to the USGA. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new era between our respective organizations which opens up the lines of communication on future Rules of Golf matters.
Throughout this entire process, the PGA of America has solicited the opinions of our members on the anchoring topic. We are simply asking our members to share some of their stories regarding golfers who will be impacted by the anchoring ban. This is in no way intended to reignite the debate on anchoring because we accept the USGA decision to invoke Rule 14-1b in 2016. We just want to ask the USGA to consider a grandfather period to give amateurs a longer period to make the appropriate transition."
It's been a while since we've kicked around anchoring, but I remain pleased that the USGA pushed the ban through for the sake of preserving skill on the elite level. But I've also come to respect Mr. Bishop's case for average golfers after hearing enough examples of people who will be impacted by this and may drop the game for no sound reason (though I'm not sure about Commissioner Christie's place in this as his actions on this topic have been downright strange).
So I'm going to throw it to the wolves: would the anchoring ban be undermined if there was a delay in the ban-date for everyday golfers to a year such as 2020, just as we saw with the groove rule?