Full USGA statement on anchoring ban

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2013, 12:20 pm

Below is the full statement from the USGA pertaining to the adoption of Rule 14-1b, which will ban anchored strokes as of January 1, 2016 (Click here for a video explanation of the rule):

'Last November, after an extensive review, we proposed Rule 14-1b, to prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke. Having heard and considered many thoughtful comments for and against the proposal, the USGA and The R&A have now adopted the Rule, effective January 1, 2016. This Rule has broad support across the world-wide golf community. While some may disagree with this decision, as Chair of the USGA’s governing board, I want to ensure that our reasoning is understood by all.

'Rule 14-1b protects one of the important challenges in the game – the free swing of the entire club. The traditional stroke involves swinging the club with both the club and gripping hands held away from the body, requiring the player to direct and control the movement of the entire club. Anchoring is different:  Intentionally securing one end of the club against the body, and creating a point of physical attachment around which the club is swung, is a substantial departure from that traditional free swing.

'Anchoring creates potential advantages, such as making the stroke simpler and more repeatable, restricting the movement and rotation of the hands, arms and clubface, creating a fixed pivot point, and creating extra support and stability that may diminish the effects of nerves and pressure.

'That anchoring provides such potential advantage is confirmed by those who play, teach and observe the game: Players say that they anchor for such reasons; instructors advocate the stroke for such reasons; and players who oppose anchoring point to such potential advantages. Indeed, some object to Rule 14-1b precisely because they think that, without anchoring, some golfers might play less well (and thus play less).

'Some object that we have not shown statistically that anchored putting is a superior stroke. But the playing Rules are not based on statistical studies; they are based on judgments that define the game and its intended challenges. One of those challenges is to control the entire club, and anchoring alters that challenge. Moreover, the issue is not whether anchoring provides a statistically demonstrable advantage to the average player, or on every stroke or in every circumstance. What matters here is whether, by diminishing obstacles inherent in the traditional stroke, anchoring may advantage some players at some times. Statistics are not necessary to resolve that issue.

'Others suggest that anchoring must not be advantageous because relatively few use it. But many golfers believe that anchoring is not a proper way to play the game and have not anchored for that reason. Also, the trend over two decades is toward remarkably increased use – a particularly worrisome trend now that beginners and juniors are being taught anchored strokes.

'Anchored putting has generated serious division about whether those who anchor are playing the same game and facing the same challenges. Such divisiveness is corrosive to a game based on sportsmanship. Rule 14-1b will serve the game by removing the cause of this divisiveness.

'Some argue that it is unfair to adopt Rule 14-1b, on the view that the Rules have allowed too many to anchor for too long. We respectfully disagree.

'The notion that a Rules change must be made soon after an issue is identified, or else be considered foreclosed, regardless of negative effects, is contrary to the history and needs of the game. Many Rule revisions have occurred only long after an issue was first identified, such as the changes relating to croquet-style putting, the 14-club maximum, and the stymie. More recently, discussion has been ongoing about slow play, use of video evidence, scorecard penalties, and other such Rules issues. The passage of time cannot bar us from addressing such issues, for it often takes time to refine the issues, assess potential solutions, and build the consensus needed for change. Players at all levels know that the Rules are subject to change at least every four years, and they adapt accordingly.

'Further, the effects of this new Rule are much less than has been suggested. Recent surveys indicate that, even with the recent upsurge in usage, anchoring is currently used by only 2-4% of all golfers in the United States and Europe, and by even fewer in other parts of the world. Moreover, Rule 14-1b leaves those affected with many options for playing the ball:  It does not ban any equipment – a player can use the same long putter or belly putter, take the same stance, grip the club in the same way, and make the same pendulum-style stroke; he or she need only move the hand or club slightly off the body. Also, a vast number of other grips, styles, and methods remain available. Putting without anchoring has been used at some point by virtually all who have played the game; and many players have used both methods in practice and/or in play, switching from one method to another with limited transition time. With more than two and a half years until the Rule takes effect, the small percentage of golfers who are affected have plenty of time and means to adapt.

'We have heard and genuinely empathize with those who will need to adjust.  But the understandable objections of these relative few cannot prevent adoption of a Rule that will serve the best interests of the entire game going forward. Indeed, rather than being too late, now is actually a necessary time to act —before even larger numbers begin to anchor and before anchoring takes firm root globally.

'Some object that Rule 14-1b might negatively affect participation in the game. But the game is growing world-wide – and anchoring is hardly used where much of this growth is occurring. Moreover, the major causes of recent reduced participation in the United States and Europe – where national economies have been weak – are the expense of the game, the time that it takes to play, and the perception that the game is not always made fun and accessible for juniors and the like. No meaningful data suggest that anchoring plays any material role in driving participation rates.  Indeed, the recent upsurge has occurred mainly because some golfers believe that anchoring helps them to play better, not because it is their only resort.

'While we care deeply about participation and are thus leading numerous health of the game initiatives, the USGA must also protect and preserve the game and its challenges for all players world-wide for the long term.  That is the point of Rule 14-1b.

'For this reason, we cannot accept the view that Rule 14-1b should be applied only to elite players, either through permanent or temporary “bifurcation” of the Rules or an optional condition of competition. The method of stroke is a fundamental aspect of the game; and an integral part of the game’s appeal is that golfers at all levels can play the same course with the same equipment under the same Rules. To adopt a Rule or condition of competition that enabled non-elite amateurs, perhaps 30-40 times a round, to gain the potential advantages of anchoring, while prohibiting professionals and elite amateurs from doing so, would effectively create two different games and undermine the integrity, traditions, and global appeal of the game.

'We understand that some golfers are expressing concern with this change. But the proper solution is not to allow alteration of the challenges of the game and pull the game apart, but rather to work together to help these golfers overcome their concerns.

'We respect that some golfers and golf organizations have raised questions about this Rule. For the reasons I have offered, which are further elaborated in a statement posted on our website, we are convinced that there are compelling answers to these questions.  We hope that those who have expressed concerns know that they have been heard and can appreciate our reasons for concluding that Rule 14-1b is in the best interests of the game, even if they would have decided differently. We ask that all now join with us in moving forward for the good of the game.' – Glen Nager, USGA president

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Top-ranked amateur wins LAAC, earns Masters invite

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 5:38 pm

Joaquin Niemann walked Augusta National Golf Club as a patron last year. He’ll be a competitor in 2018.

Niemann, the top-ranked amateur in the world, shot 8-under 63 Tuesday at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Santiago, Chile, to win the Latin America Amateur Championship.

And with the title, both redemption and an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Niemann finished runner-up in last year’s LAAC to fellow Chilean Toto Gana. He followed Gana around Augusta grounds, watching as his best friend played two rounds before missing the cut.

Niemann, who was going to turn professional had he not won this week, started the final round one back of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz. Niemann was sluggish from the start on Tuesday, but then drove the 313-yard, par-4 eighth and made the eagle putt. That sparked a run of five birdies over his next six holes.

Niemann was bogey-free in the final round and finished five shots clear of Ortiz, at 11 under.

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Judges Panel, Host Announced for Wilson Golf's "Driver vs. Driver 2," Premiering This Fall on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

‘Driver vs. Driver 2 Presented by Wilson Currently in Production; Sports Broadcaster Melanie Collins Returns to Host

Morning Drive: Driver vs. Driver 2 Judges Announced

Golf Channel and Wilson Golf announced today the panel of judges and host for the second season of Driver vs. Driver, the innovative television series that follows aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for the opportunity to have their driver idea or concept transformed into the next great golf driver from Wilson. The show is currently in production and will premiere this fall.

Joining judge Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf, are two newcomers to the series: 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick – an avid golfer with a single digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie; and PGA Professional, golf coach, equipment reviewer and social media influencer Rick Shiels.

“Golf is a big passion of mine, and personally I enjoy learning about new equipment and concepts,” said Roenick. “To be able to see this side of the business in how equipment is developed first-hand is fascinating. Being a part of the process in reviewing driver concepts and narrowing them down to an ultimate winning driver that will be sold across the country is a tremendous honor.” 

“Jeremy, as an avid golfer, and Rick, as a coach, equipment reviewer and golf professional, bring incredible, real world insights and different perspectives to the show and this process,” said Clarke. “I’m excited to work alongside these two judges to push the boundaries of innovation and bring a next-generation driver to golfers around the world.”

Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS Sports’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the fall of 2017 and will continue through the summer, including this week at the PGA Merchandise Show. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning films.

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Tiger Tracker: Farmers Insurance Open

By Tiger TrackerJanuary 23, 2018, 4:00 pm

Tiger Woods is competing in a full-field event for the first time in nearly a year. We're tracking him at this week's Farmers Insurance Open. (Note: Tweets read, in order, left to right)


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Wie's goal to reach goals: Just. Stay. Healthy.

By Randall MellJanuary 23, 2018, 3:30 pm

Michelle Wie’s player bio should come with medical charts.

Her caddie would be well served if he could read X-rays as well as he reads greens.

Remarkably, Wie will begin her 13th full season as a pro when she tees it up Thursday in the LPGA’s season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

Wie is only 28, but on some days, she must feel like she’s going on 40.

It isn’t the years, it’s the mileage. Her body has too often been like an exotic sports car, a sleek and powerful machine capable of thrilling rides ... when it isn’t sitting it in the shop for weeks for repairs. There’s been one breakdown after another, spoiling her rides.

That’s why one burning desire trumps all others for Wie as she begins this new year.

“Being healthy, staying healthy, it’s my No. 1 priority,” Wie told GolfChannel.com. “I hired private physios at the end of last year, to work on my body. I’ve been working with my doctors in New York, and they’ve been doing a great job of getting me to a place where I’m pain free.

“For the most part, I’m feeling pretty good and pretty healthy. I’ve got little aches and pains from hitting so many balls over the years, but I’m really excited about starting this year. I feel really driven this year. I just want to be healthy so I can build some momentum and be able to play at 100 percent.”



Wie would love to see what she can do in an injury-free, illness-free year after all the promising work she put into rebuilding her game last year. She seemed on the brink of something special again.

“We worked last week, and Michelle looked really, really good,” said David Leadbetter, her swing coach. “It’s quite impressive the way she’s hitting the ball. She is hitting it long and feeling good about her game. So, the main goal really is to see if she can go injury free.”

After winning twice in 2014, including the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie battled through a troublesome finger injury in the second half of that year. Hip, knee and ankle injuries followed the next year. She didn’t just lose all her good momentum. She lost the swing she grooved.

Wie rebuilt it all last year, turning her draw into a dependable fade that allowed her to play more aggressively again. She loved being able to go hard at the ball again, without fearing where it might go. The confidence from that filtered into every part of her game. She started hitting more drivers again.

And Wie found yet another eccentric but effective putting method, abandoning her table-top putting stance for a rotating trio of grips (conventional, left-hand low and claw). She would use them all in a single round. It was weird science, but it worked as she moved to a more classic, upright stance.

“It’s not pretty, but it’s working,” Stacy Lewis said after playing with Wie at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship last summer.

Wie said she’s going back and forth between conventional and left-hand low now.

“I can’t promise I’ll stay the same way all year,” Wie said. “But even with different grips, I stayed with the same putting philosophy all year. I want to keep doing that.”

Leadbetter calls Wie a rebel in her approach to the game. She’s a power player, but she carried a 9-wood and 11-wood last year. She says the 11-wood will be back in her bag this week. Her unorthodox ways go beyond technique, strategy and equipment. She’ll be sporting pink hair come Thursday.

“She has never been orthodox,” Leadbetter said. “She doesn’t like to conform. She’s always liked to buck the system in some way.”

Wie looked as if she were poised to make a run at her fifth career title last season. She logged six finishes of fourth place or better the first half of the year. She contended at the ANA Inspiration, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

And then a neck spasm knocked her out of the U.S. Women’s Open.

And then emergency appendectomy surgery knocked her out for six weeks at summer’s end. It kept her from playing the year’s final major, the Evian Championship.

“I can’t list all the injuries Michelle has had in her career,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue.”

Over the last three seasons alone, Wie has played through bursitis in her left hip, a bone spur in her left foot and inflammation in her left knee. She has battled neck spasms and back spasms. There have been platelet rich plasma injections to aid healing, and there have been too many cortisone injections for her liking.

There also have been ongoing issues in both wrists.

In fact, Wie, who broke two bones in her left wrist early in her career, is dealing with arthritic issues in both wrists of late. She underwent collagen injections this off season to try to be more pain free.

“I’ve had to pull back the last couple years, restrict the number of balls I hit, not practice as much as I would like, but I was able to put in a lot of work this offseason,” Wie said. “I’m excited about this year, but I’ve been smart about things.”

Leadbetter says he has been focusing on injury prevention when working with Wie. He worries about the stress that all the torque she creates can have on her body, with her powerful coil and the way she sometimes likes to hold off shots with her finish. His work, sometimes, is pulling her back from the tinkering she loves to do.

“Everything we do with her swing now is to help prevent injury,” he said.

Leadbetter relishes seeing what’s possible in 2018 if there are no setbacks.

“Michelle would be the first to admit she hasn’t reached anywhere near her potential,” Leadbetter said. “We all know what she is capable of. We’ve had fleeting glimpses. Now, it’s a matter of, ‘OK, let’s see if we can really fulfill the potential she’s had from a very young age.’

“She’s really enthusiastic about this year. She can’t wait to get back in the mix.”