I have to be honest. Before November 29, I couldn’t even spell bifurcation. It was nowhere on my radar, but the anchoring topic has been so polarizing that it has brought bifurcation to the forefront. Never in my wildest imagination, and probably the USGA’s, did we ever see a day when the likes of Finchem, Fay and Tarde would be speaking bifurcation.
And if you were wondering whether the PGA of America has changed its stance on the anchoring ban...
The USGA and R&A certainly have a tough job in administering the rules. This is not a popularity contest. Hopefully, the comment period has been meaningful and the ruling bodies are listening.
If the proposed ban on anchoring is dropped, bifurcation probably goes away and that’s the best thing for golf.
Jaime Diaz devoted his final say column in Golf World this week to the buzz over bifurcation at the PGA Show, prompted in part by Tim Finchem's comments
What looms larger -- particularly with the U.S. Open about to be played at Merion -- is whether bifurcation can be an effective way to deal with what some believe to be a problem of increased distance. The USGA is firm in saying that if the golf ball or drivers were ever rolled back, it would be across the board for all golfers.
However, asking the recreational golfer to give up distance is a tough sell. Furthermore, a large portion of such golfers are -- with every mulligan, improper drop and raked four-footer -- de facto bifurcators. If there was a ball rollback, such customizers would have no qualms about playing old balls that would be illegal -- or continuing to use long putters after the anchoring ban takes effect.
Recreational golf is what recreational golfers want it to be. As Dawson tacitly acknowledged, bifurcation is not some crazy concept, but one that smart people can consider as a possible solution to a game that is increasingly cornered. That's why the term has endured in the shadows all these years, and why it's finally on the table.