sport

Golf waits on putter ruling

Golfers around the world are waiting to hear if long putters are to be banned - or at least the way many currently use them is banned.

But one influential voice is urging professionals not to take radical action even if they do not like having to change.

European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: "Speaking personally on behalf of the Tour, one of our great facets is that we are connected to the game that every amateur can play as well.

"We could go separately. I would urge the Tour to follow the rules as laid down by the governing bodies.

"We are a very strong lobbyist, our views being sought all the time. There's been a lot of discussion throughout the year with the USGA (United States Golf Association) and the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club) and the PGA Tour.

"I think the rules-making bodies have to do what they think is right for the game.

"The view of our leading members and our players must be listened to, but I haven't heard one of our members want to break away at the moment. They want to be connected to the game."

The issue has come to the fore with three of the last five major champions - Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els - among those using long putters. Nobody had ever won a major with one until Bradley's victory at the USPGA Championship last year.

Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, said in July after The Open: "Anchoring is what we're looking at -method of stroke - and it's all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest.

"It has dramatically increased and we're also seeing now people who can putt perfectly well in the conventional way thinking that an anchored stroke gives them an advantage.

"I think that's the fundamental change that we've witnessed in the last couple of years.

"The objections I find from those at elite level are 'if people have become failed putters in the conventional way why should they have a crutch to come back and compete against me when I haven't failed in the conventional way?' That's the general argument one hears."