The Long “Wait” to Ban The Belly Putter
By Bob Riccioli on November 30, 2012
The USGA and The Royal and Ancient have “proposed” to change the Rules of Golf to ban a Putter which is “anchored” to the body on January 1st, 2016. I presume the length of time is to allow the threatened legal challenges to be fully vetted in whatever jurisdiction deemed appropriate.
My position is based on the statement issued by the Chief of the Royal and Ancient:
"We believe we have considered this issue from every angle, but given the wide-ranging interest in this subject, we would like to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to put forward any new matters for consideration."
Earlier this month, in another article here entitled, “The Belly Putter Question: To Anchor, or Not To Anchor” I predicted that the anchored Putter will stay because it makes it makes dollars and cents to the very people who have the most to lose by it’s exclusion.
I still believe that not only will leading players pressure the powers-that-be, but so will the very manufacturers who provide for the plethora of funding which is the life’s blood of professional golf.
There have been Tour Players who have weighed in on either side of the argument, and it needs to be noted that the PGA Tour claims that they adhere to the prevailing Rules of Golf of the local governing body. By and large that is true, so in this very important case, having the USGA and The Royal and Ancient agree is paramount.
it might surprise those who follow my positions, that I agree with Tiger Woods, who explained: “Having one end of the putter at a fixed point is something that's not in the traditions of the game. We swing all other 13 clubs, I think the putter should be the same. I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves" I could not agree more. Anchoring the putter against the belly, chest, chin, or even your forehead takes away those very nerves Tiger speaks of.
I think that the intent of this change to the Rules of Golf is based in a sincere desire to try and preserve the traditional game of golf. Unfortunately, I doubt that the effort will ultimately be successful because of the enormous amount of money in golf that will potentially be wasted by legal challenges. To that end, cooler heads will prevail and, in what will ultimately be a move equal to Solomon’s Baby, the rule change will be “modified” to placate all parties, leaving no one happy.