The governing bodies of golf proposed a ban on such practices Wednesday and while it's only step one of the process, all signs point to said ban passing.
The new rule states that during a stroke, a player cannot anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.” Prohibited stokes would include a belly putter anchored against the stomach, an anchored long putter to the sternum, the end of the club anchored against the chin, and an anchor point created by the forearm.
Bifurcation should not be a problem going forward and will create an even playing field across all ranks from recreational to professional. In other words, this rule is being put in place everywhere.
A 90 day comment period immediately follows Wednesday's ruling for golfers and industry professionals to talk about the matter and have their opinions expressed, but at this point it already feels like that's all out in the open. It's more of a courtesy and in my opinion, one that is unnecessary. There is not one argument for or against that hasn't already been said.
Let's just get to the spring, when this rule can become official and then happily watch as the illegal anchoring goes away forever... starting in 2016.
Yes, 2016. This ban will not be fully implemented until the next publishing of the Rules of Golf in three years. What kind of ridiculous bylaws prohibit the governing bodies to just push this thing through and, seriously, why do they exist? It's a bit maddening.
We've had three golfers win majors in the past two years using belly putters: Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA; Webb Simpson, 2012 US Open; and Ernie Els, 2012 British Open. Before I declare an illegal injustice on them, it is worth mentioning that no golfer using a belly putter was ranked in the Top 20 in putting in 2012. To me, that simply says that you don't have to be consistently great at putting for an entire year to win a major, just over a four day period when the tournament is being held.
I'm going to love not having to watch men in their 20's and 30's slumped over a belly or long putter as if they are ready to start collecting Social Security checks.
And speaking of our "veteran golfers" (very PC, I know)... I do wonder what this will mean for Champions Tour golfers who are stricken with age-related injuries that might prohibit them from adjusting to the no anchor rule. I'm guessing a One-A-Day multivitamin isn't going to be a great substitute, but then again, these guys do have caddies and if you're unable to swing a putter like everybody else, it's probably time to call it a career anyway.
It's worth considering, but not enough that it should make a difference in the outcome.
You'll hear all in power within the PGA Tour say this rule is a way to improve the future of golf and keep the rules fair. Believe those words, because they are true. You'll hear some golfers gripe about it and bring up a bunch of lame complaints as well, but just brush those off and look forward to a brighter future for golf... or something like that.
Players can still use their precious belly and long putters, anyway. They just can't illegally anchor them anymore. Who wants to cheat to win, anyway?
"We legitimately believe it’s the right thing to do for the game of golf long-term. We know short-term there is going to be some angst over this. We accept that. We don’t like it either. But we want to, once and for all, put this controversial ruling to bed," US Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said.
Let me be the first to offer to tuck it in and read it a bed time story, Mike. Anything for it to rest in peace.