Amateur options in face of anchor ban

By November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

As most expected, golf’s major governing bodies announced Wednesday a proposed ban on anchored putting that will affect play at all levels and go into effect in January 2016.

While the U.S. Golf Association and R&A will continue to review the decision and entertain feedback for a 90-day period, it would appear that a form of putting that has become increasingly popular in recent years among both touring professionals and recreational players is on the way out.

The proposed rule change states that a player cannot anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point” during a stroke, and among what will be prohibited are a belly putter anchored against the stomach and a long putter anchored to the sternum.

The debate about anchoring has been on the rise since Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major championship with a long putter when he was victorious at the 2011 PGA Championship using a belly putter.

And the controversy only grew this season as Webb Simpson and Ernie Els won the U.S. Open and British Open, respectively, using belly putters. Additionally, many new players began experimenting with long and belly putters, and opponents of their use, including Tiger Woods, became more vocal in their dissent.

While the issue remains at least somewhat open for the time being and the possibility exists that legal action could be pursued by some players, the concern for golfers who have used an anchored-putting approach will be what to do now on the course in anticipation of this rule change.

And according to SwingFix and Golf Magazine top 100 instructor Mike Davis, the answer is pretty simple.

“While there will be a three-month period for feedback and comments, it appears that the USGA and the R&A are pretty set in their decision,” said Davis, who’s rated by Golf Digest as the second-best teaching professional in Nevada, behind only Butch Harmon. “If you want to compete in tournaments, you need to find another method.”

And in Davis’ opinion, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I have never started any young golfer with belly or long putters,” he added. “I feel that their control of distance is better with traditional methods and the belly and long putters are a last resort. My experience is that (belly and long putters) made a bad putter a little better.”

Of course, the transition for players who have been anchoring won’t be easy - making changes never is.

But Davis, who has coached more than 90 players who went on to play college golf and who also coached seven-time PGA Tour winner Peter Jacobsen, said that while anchoring has helped some players with their stroke, that putting at a high level encompasses so much more.

“The art of putting is much more than the stroke,” Davis said. “Reading greens, controlling distance, controlling your emotions, proper practice and being confident are at least as important as the stroke.”

Davis also offered up some technical advice for those who might be facing a putter change this offseason.

“The advantage of a long putter is that it becomes a simple pendulum,” he said. “I have always taught a simple pendulum where your forearms are in line with the shaft and your shoulders rotate perpendicular to your neck, which keeps your head very still. The arms and hands should be very relaxed and swung by the shoulder rotation, but it is difficult for some golfers to accomplish because their arms and hands want to help or guide the club.

“Many golfers in the past have gone to cross-handed putting to solve this issue, and recently, many have tried anchored strokes. Some might like Matt Kuchar's stroke to keep their hands quiet. Matt's stroke, where he anchors the shaft against his left forearm, was deemed to be legal.”

Lost somewhat in the discussion is the fact that long and belly putters will not be illegal under the proposed rule change. They can still be utilized as long as their use is compliant with the new rules.

But will we continue to see belly and long putters in many golf bags, especially at the professional level?

Davis believes the answer is yes, but only in cases where players have experienced major putting problems or health issues that a long putter can help alleviate.

“Until recently, the only players using anchored putters were those who had tried traditional putting methods and had serious issues - yips, flinching or breakdown with their wrists,” Davis said. “They found more success with an anchored putting technique.

“Quite a few golfers with bad backs also found that they were able to play with less pain with long putters. Many of these golfers will still use long putters for the same reason, it solves or lessens a problem they have and makes the game more enjoyable for them.”

For more Golf Channel coverage of the proposed ban on anchored putting, click here.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry