Looks like the USGA will get its WAY

It’s official.

As of January 1st, 2016 using an anchored putter will be illegal according to the rules of golf. This has been deemed so by the governing bodies of the sport; the USGA and the R&A. Therefore, the belly, chin, and chest putters that have become so popular of late are no longer going to be allowed. By pressing it against one’s self and “anchoring” it, only one side of the putter moves and the other side stays in place. In order for the use of a club to be considered legal, both ends of the club must move during an intentional stroke in regulation play. Here is an explanation of the rule from the USGA including a detailed picture that shows what putting stroke variations are legal and what are not.

As with anything there are two sides to this. Initially siding with the players, the PGA Tour, along with the PGA of America came out against the adoption of the rule believing it to be unnecessary from the standpoint of the PGA Tour’s success and possibly leading to confusion if the rule were applied differently across different types of competitions.

The job of the USGA is to protect the game and the spirit of the game by making sure that actions during play do not give some players an advantage over other players. The anchored putter is often the club of choice for people who want to “remove their hands” from the act of making a putt – because the hands are more likely to be adversely affected by nervousness.

But they have a point. And Adam Scott made it for them.

When Adam Scott became the first Aussie to win the Master’s in 2013 he used a chest-anchored putter. That tipped the scales. Of the last six PGA tour major winners a whopping four of them (Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, and Adam Scott) used anchored putters. Before Adam Scott it was a 50-50 ratio. After this past Master’s one could now argue that two-thirds of all recent major winners used anchored putters and this led them to their success. So maybe there is something to this whole anchored putting style.

In my opinion, allowing the use of anchored putters may help some for whom the shots with the flat stick are their Achilles heel. One CANNOT win major tournaments without being a fabulous putter. However, of the greatest living putters that I know of (e.g. Ben Crenshaw, Tiger Woods, Brad Faxon, Jack Nicklaus) none of them ever used an anchored putter.

Inbee Park is the best putter on the LPGA tour and quite possibly one of the best putters in the entire world. Inbee does not use an anchored putter.

I say go ahead and allow anchored putting. Those who are master putters will rise to the occasion and shine on the greens as they know how. For everyone else there is a club that levels the playing field.♣