PGA Tour opposes putter ban
The PGA Tour has announced its opposition to the proposed ban on anchored putting strokes.
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem made the announcement during an interview at the Dove Mountain course in Arizona, which has been playing host to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship this week.
Finchem says there has not been enough evidence to show a competitive advantage is gained by using a long putter or belly putter, which is anchored against the body.
The U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club announced the proposed rule change on 28 November and offered a 90-day comment period, and Finchem says the tour is merely offering its view.
The next development will be whether the USGA and R&A decide to adopt the new rule.
Finchem said: "The USGA and the R&A notified us several months ago about their intention to put forward a proposal to essentially change the rule as it relates to what a stroke is, by further defining it as something where you can't ground your club and anchor your club.
"We then undertook to go through a process to determine our position on that and we brought that to a conclusion last week.
"Essentially, where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour.
"I think there are a number of factors here, a number of details, a number of issues.
"But I think the essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board of directors and others was that, in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring, and given the amount of time that anchoring has been in the game, that there was no overriding reason to go down that road."
Finchem also stated that 13 of the 15 players on their advisory council were against the ban.
"I would note that the PGA of America came to the same conclusion after consultation with their membership," he said. "The Golf Course Owners Association came to the same conclusion as well."
Finchem did not say what the PGA Tour would do if the ban does come into force but his announcement is sure to give the Royal and Ancient Club and United States Golf Association real pause for thought.
A USGA statement read: "The 90-day comment period remains a very good process.
"We continue to listen to varying points of view and have had many productive conversations across the golf community, which is a reminder of just how much people care about the game, regardless of their position on this issue.
"As we consider the various perspectives on anchoring, it has always been our position that Rule 14-1b aims to clarify and preserve the traditional and essential nature of the golf stroke, which has helped to make golf a unique and enjoyable game of skill and challenge.
"It is our plan to take final action on the proposed rule in the spring."
An R&A spokesman said they would not be commenting until the "comment period" was over.