Emerging From Their Own Asses
The chowderheads at the USGA and R&A emerged from their own assess this morning just long enough to confirm that the proposed anchoring ban (now known as rule 14-1b) is becoming the law of the land, and in d...
Emerging From Their Own Asses
The chowderheads at the USGA and R&A emerged from their own assess this morning just long enough to confirm that the proposed anchoring ban (now known as rule 14-1b) is becoming the law of the land, and in doing so they’ve basically guaranteed us somewhere between 6 weeks and 6 more years of additional stupidity on the subject.
What’s done is apparently done (well…not completely), and I’m not going to get into every last detail of why the anchor ban constitutes something between a giant waste of time and an act of absolute stupidity.
We’ve made those arguments (here, here, and here too). Let’s leave that dead horse to decay in peace.
The time for arguing the merits is done (and by the USGA’s own admission they really don’t have any – at least not the statistical kind), which means we’ve moved on to an even more compelling stage of debate which could ultimately challenge the USGA’s authority as the sole keeper of golf’s rules (in this country anyway).
“The playing rules are not based on statistical studies. They are based on judgments that define the game and its intended challenge. One of those challenges is to control the entire club, and anchoring alters that challenge.” -Glen Nager, USGA President
How Will the PGA (TOUR) Respond
The PGA of America President, Ted Bishop, has already issued a statement…(actually more of a non-statement) giving the USGA the old ‘attaboy, for listening to its concerns, while kinda, sorta, saying they don’t really agree with the decision. But hey, the good news is their going to meet with the USGA on the reg now, and well, they’re going to sit down, “digest” things, and figure out what to do next when the board meets in late June.
Here’s a prediction for you: The PGA of America abides.
The bigger question is how the PGA Tour will respond. While far from absolute, PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem has left the door open to the possibility that the tour could adopt a 2nd set of rules that would allow anchoring on the PGA Tour. The last thing the USGA wants at any level is bifurcation (why that’s so scary is beyond me, “traditions of blah blah“), so the Tour does have some power here…even if rejecting the ban would be mostly for show.
The reality is that only a minority of guys on the PGA Tour use belly or long putters. While I could be wrong, I’d be that as much as any of those guys might love anchoring, they’d love winning Majors more, and those Majors; not a single one of the 4 is a PGA Tour Event.
Week by week count of belly, mid, and long putters on the PGA Tour - Courtesy of TaylorMade's Charlie Kautz (@CharlieTour)
The US Open is a USGA event. The British Open belongs to the R&A. The PGA Championship is run by the PGA (which does make their decision potentially compelling), and the Masters is run by the guys in the green coats. Most everything else is the PGA, but let’s face it…Majors are what matters.
My guess is you won’t see a single tour pro doing the anchoring thing only to switch back to the conventional (legal) stroke for USGA/PGA events. It won’t happen, which is exactly why the PGA Tour should continue to allow anchoring. It’s civil disobedience with limited consequence that could serve as the much-needed ego check for the USGA (and the USGA needs the Tour more than the Tour needs the USGA).
My guess is the PGA Tour side of it ends with a statement reiterating their disagreement with the rule, but in the interest of the game, just like the PGA of America, the PGA Tour will abide.
How Will Manufacturers Respond
This isn’t the new groove rule all over again. This time around the USGA didn’t mandate the equipment, they mandated the stroke, which means equipment manufacturers are free to continue producing putters in whatever lengths they want.