Following up on last week's chat with select media members (reported here and here), Tim Clark and Adam Scott sat down with Golf Channel's Todd Lewis for their first TV interview to defend the rights of putter anchoring. Both players do their best to make their case, and Lewis asks some different questions which help clarify a few key points. (I've transcribed highlights as the Golf Central videos disappear into cyberspace in a week.)
Both players tell Lewis they were surprised by the announcement of the proposed rule change last fall, but remain respectful of the governing bodies place in the game. But asked why he switched, Clark said he "never felt I was a very good putter, still don't feel I'm a very good putter" and explains his medical condition.
I have a bit of a congenital arm issue where I can't supinate my forearms, so the short putter was just never very comfortable in my hands. I always looked awkward over it and it just felt awkward.
Lewis interrupts, asking for clarification whether the conditions is "uncomfortable or painful?" Clark:
"More uncomfortable. I mean, it's extremely hard to putt with tight forearms and you know, I picked up the long putter and it took me a long time to take it out into competition."
Lewis asks about nerves playing a part and both players were taken aback by the suggestion that anchoring eliminates nervous twitches. "Flabbergasting to me," said Clark, while Scott says those are "Completely unqualified comments" by anyone making that assertion.
Clark made clear he wants "to play by the rules" and appreciates Tim Finchem for finding the decision "unfair and unjust." Not sure he used such strong words...
Lewis asks if they'll be anchoring in 2016. Both players are optimistic and Scott noted that he thinks he'll be able to putt with any putter he wants. Of course, the wording of the rule change does not impact the putter in any way so that statement is certainly true.
As for the European Tour supporting the governing bodies, Clark says they changed their stance shortly before supporting the USGA and R&A:
"The interesting thing is that a week and a half ago we thought the European Tour would follow what the [PGA] Tour was going to do. I guess in a span of five or six days they completely changed their position. So that was a shock. You know we thought these guys have a good handle on what is going on and they're going to do the right thing. Obviously they changed their minds and we're not sure way. Obviously that was a bit troubling."
In the most newsworthy portion of the conversation, Lewis asks if the ban happens whether the players would pursue "maybe a legal right to fight whomever to use anchor styled putter." Clark:
"There's no way I want to be in a situation where I'm the only guy using something out there. So that would never be something I'd ever look to do."
"I haven't given it that much thought at all. Because you can't make decisions on assumptions and foresight like that. I can only go with what is happening right now and we're dealing with this the best way we feel we can."
You feel for both during the interview but ultimately, their case is not going to be strong enough.