Inspired By Langer And McCarron, Scott Goes Long Again

Jimmy Emanuel reports that former Masters champion Adam Scott will be wielding the long putter, minus the now-banned practice of anchoring, as he tees it up in the Australian PGA (Golf Channel coverage starts Wednesday at 8 pm ET).

Scott says he was inspired to try after seeing the incredible results of seniors Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron on the PGA Tour Champions. 

“… it was actually pointed out to me that this year they (Langer and McCarron) both recorded the best ever putting stats since stats have been kept. Both of them beat the old best. You know, I don't know if it's just a coincidence or if they had just a really good year, but maybe they've found the best way to putt,” Scott said.

Poll Results: Keep The Anchoring Ban, Small Majority Says

There are still a few counties who haven't sent in their votes, but over 800 of you have spoken and as of this hour my efforts to rescind the anchoring ban were shot down.

A slim majority of you say keep the ban. If I'd been a betting man, given the displeasure I hear about the ban on anchoring, I would have bet on a 60% majority saying abandon the ban in the 2019 rules re-write.

But I dare say the people have spoken, and I must say that given the difficulty of enforcing the ban (as evidenced by Bernhard Langer's current technique), this seemed an easy way out. So I find it fascinating that so many of you did not agree with taking the easy way out. Point taken!

Poll: Should The Governing Bodies Drop The Anchoring Ban?

Bernhard Langer's recent brush with anchoring at the U.S. Senior Open prompted a pre-round visit with rules officials from the USGA. There was also overwhelming outrage on social media and coverage from Fox Sports addressing concerns of a possible rules violation. The issue summed up here by Brandel Chamblee, who coverage this week may have prompted the latest response:


At the very least, Langer is taking things right up to the edge of the anchoring ban. At the worst, he's openly resisting the rule knowing that the genteel world of golf would never actually prosecute a player of his caliber.

This all prompted an unusual Friday news dump with statements from Langer, fellow Champions Tour long putter user Scott McCarron and the USGA. Here is what was said:

The "integrity" language here from the USGA would suggest that actually enforcing the rule is now almost impossible given the introduction of intent.  With this in mind and knowing there are seniors whose golfing lives were made miserable by not being able to anchor, perhaps it's time to drop a rule that will not be enforced?

The SI/Golf.com gang contemplated massaging or changing the rule in this week's discussion that included caddie John Wood.

Given the potential rules changes for 2019, should the governing bodies consider abandoning a rule that started in 2016 after much debate?

The poll and your votes please:

As part of the rules revisions, should the governing bodies drop the anchoring ban?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Hank Haney Asks If Bernhard Langer Is In Violation Of The Anchoring Ban

Hank Haney thinks so and based on the definition of Rule 14-1b (PDF link) that says an “anchor point” "exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club."

Bernhard Langer would appear to be in violation in this clip:

What say you?

Brush With Inevitability: Blair's Anchoring Review

It only took two weeks and we had our first player questioned about possible anchoring, though by the sounds of it the officials on-site were almost doing a review as a test case. But this will not be the last time a player has to review the tape.

Brian Wacker with the explanation from the PGA Tour's John Lillivas and Zac Blair's explanation for the 17th hole putt where his club brushed up against his shirt.

“I was a bit in shock when he even asked,” Blair said. “I was asking him, ‘What is he talking about?’ But I honestly don't know what to say, other than (that) I'm not even sure what happened until I guess I saw it. I definitely wasn't anchoring it on purpose.”

Randall Mell notes that this will be an ongoing issue with the new anchoring ban:

There’s going to be no way of knowing definitively if a club’s actually anchored to a player’s body, especially when players are in sweaters and jackets in cool weather.

This also explains why Charlie Rymer wore this hotel drape of a sweater this morning. He demonstrates the issue at hand on Morning Drive:

A Few Gentle Reminders Now That Anchoring Has Been Banned

No doubt a few golfers grumbled to their unsuspecting relatives over the holidays about the looming anchoring ban. And while we don't know how (or if) it will be acknowledged in the everyday game, the pros are definitely saying goodbye to a method that's been around longer than you might think.

Jason Sobel of ESPN.com has this nice, brief recap of anchoring's place in golf leading up to the ban.

At GolfDigest.com Mike Johnson files an excellent primer on key elements to the new rule and alternatives for those seeking them. The dreaded "intent" word also surfaces.

2.) You’re not penalized if your club accidentally brushes against your shirt.

What the new rule is aimed at addressing is intent and what constitutes anchoring. A club accidentally brushing against your shirt doesn’t violate either dictate so stop thinking about getting some form-fitting shirts—it’s probably a bad look on you anyway.

Dottie's Year-End Rules Of Golf Christmas Gift: Anchoring Ban

There are so many nuggets in Dottie Pepper's year-end look at the Rules of Golf changes (or lack of change). The piece is accompanied by an autoplay interview of Bernhard Langer by Michael Collins talking the end of the anchoring era.

Pepper covers many areas but for now, let's just focus on her anchoring ban views as January 1, 2016 looms.

This is fun:

For decades, golf's ruling bodies approved of the anchored method with many of the thoughts being:

1. It will be pretty much confined to senior golf (quickly proven untrue on all professional tours and top-level amateur golf around the world).

2. No one will win a major championship with a long or anchored putter (see Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and others).

3. No one will ever teach the anchored method to youngsters. (USGA President Tom O'Toole Jr.'s young son was encouraged to learn this method by his professional, thus sending Mr. O'Toole, by his own admission, to his breaking point to take the side of the anchoring ban.

Charming.

She delves into some interesting points on the complexity of the ruling (7 pages!) and how there has yet to be a clear explanation as to why the Kuchar method is kosher. She also makes some key points regarding how this undermines the move to simpler rules.

Finally though, there is this regarding the image affect the ban has had on the governing bodies, a take I've heard from enough everyday golfers to believe this is the legacy of the anchoring ban in the eyes of most.

Furthermore, the reversal of the previous decision and the course of action with the "because we said so" air undermines the authority of the ruling bodies. I applaud the current USGA and R&A leadership and committees for being more active in protecting the integrity and future of the game, but not like this.

Anchorers Go Down In...Schwab Cup Success

Sure there may be a few stragglers through December, but the era of anchored putting essentially came to and end this weekend when Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen battled Billy Andrade down the Charles Schwab Cup Championship stretch. The first two are achorers but will have to give up the habit January 1, 2016.

But as Al Tays notes at GolfChannel.com, Langer is sounding more optimistic going forward than he has in recent years.

Langer has anchored his broomstick putter for 17 years, but he says he's not worried about making a change.

"I've thought about it a little bit," he told reporters in Scottsdale. "I've gathered a few putters, different styles, different lengths, different grips. My first thought is I'll probably go back to what I did before I went to the long putter, which was what [Matt] Kuchar does, holding the putter against the left forearm that way, and Soren Kjeldsen in Europe does the same thing.

"I putted that way for seven years and I won a number of tournaments including the Masters, and if you can putt on the Masters greens and win with a grip like that, I would think I could do it in other tournaments, but we'll see. There's other options."

On the flatbelly circuit, Adam Scott notched a second place finish in Malaysia and looked good over the putter, while former anchorer Ernie Els hasn't been quite so confident over his blade.

Bernhard Langer Still Miffed By The Anchoring Ban

As he heads into the U.S. Senior Open final round tied with Jeff Maggert for the lead, Bernhard Langer nears the end of his ability to anchor the long blade against his torso. And he's still unsure why it's happening.

The Sacramento Bee's Mark Billingsley reports.

“I just don’t understand,” said Bernhard Langer, who shot a 4-under-par 66 in Friday’s second round at the Del Paso Country Club and is 3 under for the tournament. “I’ve been using (the long putter) for 18 years, and it’s a real issue. If it’s easier, then why are we not seeing more players use it? I don’t see anyone using persimmon woods. And who is using hybrids now? Everyone.”

Anchoring Overrated? Adam Scott's Putting At Doral

During the debate over anchored putters, many wondered how the final year would play out: should players transition after milking their long putter, or should they throw in the towel and make the transition ASAP.

The number of odd-ball grips turning up at PGA Tour events suggests most are laying down and giving in to the forthcoming ban. No players in the WGC at Doral employed the long blade, according to a report by James Corrigan and Cam Cole.

While it's only one week, Alex Myers reports on Adam Scott's strong start with a standard-length Odyssey.

Over 72 holes at Doral, Scott only three-putted once, and he made 87 percent of his putts from inside 10 feet. That included a perfect 52 of 52 from five feet and in -- a range where anchoring, in theory, helps a golfer. But Scott was good from any range as evidenced by his daily average of holing more than 84 feet worth of putts, which put him 15th in the field.

Tim Clark At Peace With Anchoring Ban, Kind Of

Golfweek's Jim McCabe talks to Tim Clark about the state of Clark's game and (sort of) finding peace with the anchoring ban due at year's end.

Clark is gong to give putting a try without lodging the club against his torso.

Playing without the anchored style isn’t daunting at all.

He said he would incorporate a “longish putter” and that he would adopt a similar style, one that was not anchored. Just as he figures out how to compete against guys who rip it 30 or 40 yards past him, Clark will solve the putting style challenge. He’s in a good place, no matter what, because “it comes down to confidence” and in that regard, he’s in ample supply.

Bifurcation: The B Word Just Won't Go Away

Jaime Diaz takes the pulse of folks at recent industry shows and the bifurcation word just keeps coming up for golf, no matter the context whether it be rangefinders, equipment or putters.

Diaz makes the case for rules tweaks that impact the professional.

The professional tours, and especially major championship golf, would be better with a golf ball that underwent a distance rollback of 10 percent. Don't worry, a Dustin Johnson drive will still look awesome flying 290 yards instead of 325. But more importantly, a rolled-back ball would increase the premium on player skill, bring the driver out of the bag much more often, create more variety in the shape of approach shots, allow the best players to separate from the pack more easily, lead to more classic venues, stop the proliferation of extreme course setups that feature heavy rough and ultra-firm greens, and speed up play. This more interesting version of golf on the biggest stages would make the recreational game more popular and alluring.

USGA "Pleased" PGA Tour And PGA Of America Saw The Light

A statement released today after the PGA Tour and PGA of America came on board with the anchoring ban. No acknowledgement of the suggested extension for the amateur game. 

“The United States Golf Association is pleased with the decision by the PGA Tour and The PGA of America to follow Rule 14-1b, when it goes into effect in January 2016, for their respective competitions. As set forth in our report, “Explanation of Decision to Adopt Rule 14-1b,” the game benefits from having a single set of rules worldwide, applicable to all levels of play, and the acceptance of Rule 14-1b by the PGA Tour and The PGA of America supports the game in this regard.”

 Translation: as it should have been all along until you guys decided to get all independent minded...