What They're Saying: Golf's Heavy Hitters React

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 28, 2012, 4:14 pm

Many of golf’s leading voices spoke out Wednesday about the governing bodies’ decision to ban the anchored stroke. 

Here is a sampling:

Johnny Miller: “I could see the Champions Tour making the long putter legal. They’re not going to win the U.S. Open, OK? But it would really help the guys whose nerves have been frayed. And it would keep the amateurs in the game putting pretty good. … You can rank the yips, 1-5. The kids who are using it, the Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, probably don’t even rank on the 1. The kids out there who are copying them don’t have nerve problems, and they’re ruining it for the guys 1-5. When you’re not able to anchor it and you’ve got the yips, well, that takes a lot of goodness out of the long putter.”

Tom Lehman: “It is blatantly unfair to have let it go on this long and now decades later make this proposed ruling. There are many young players who have grown up with the belly putter, never even using traditional methods. To tell them it is illegal or against the spirit of the game is way late, very unfair and in my opinion unethical. If I were Webb Simpson or Keegan Bradley or Bernhard Langer or anyone else who has poured their hearts and soul into putting this way, I would be furious. The reality is that successful golf is achieved by what happens between the ears. I am disappointed with this ruling.”

PGA president Ted Bishop: “The PGA has long supported the USGA in its role of establishing the Rules of Golf governing play and equipment. We have representation on the Rules of Golf Committee and we have tremendous respect for the USGA in regard to their critical role in writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf.  As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game.”

Jack Nicklaus: “I’m sure the USGA and R&A have thought about this a great deal. I would listen to what they have to say, and what they want to do is only in the best interest of the game. … (Players) will get used to it and they’ll get over it.”

Paul Goydos: “I think they’re throwing a bucket of water in the ocean, but they think they made the right decision. … But it’ll come down to the players. If you want to have a lot of fun, I think you should try and sneak into the (mandatory player meeting on Jan. 22 in San Diego).”

Davis Love III: “I think this proposal will create more division and controversy than impact scoring and be a distraction to the pro game, which is in a great place, and take some fun away from the amateurs. So if it’s not a positive to grow the game, and in a bad economy for any business, why now?”

PGA Tour: “While the USGA and The R&A have kept us updated on this proposed rule change, we only recently have been able to review the final language and have not until now had the opportunity to share it with our Policy Board and membership. As with any rule change, we will go through our normal process of evaluating the potential impact this will have to all our constituents. It will be discussed at our next annual player meeting on January 22 in San Diego, and it is anticipated that it will be reviewed by our Policy Board during its March meeting. During this review process, we will provide periodic updates to our stakeholders.”

Ian Poulter: “To be honest, I’ve always used a short putter, I’ve never used anything other, so for me it makes sense. I know it’s going to cause a lot of unsettlement between players. For some it’s going to be difficult, but for me it makes no difference at all. For my benefit, I’m happy about the ruling.”

Odyssey Golf: “Regarding the USGA and R&A proposal today, Odyssey has long held the belief that confidence with the putter is good for the game, particularly regarding player retention and growth potential. But one of the beauties of putting is that there are so many ways to do it. Notwithstanding the final ruling in 2013, it is Odyssey's pledge to ensure golfers have the same level of confidence when they line up a putt with one of our products – regardless of the putting technique. We have anticipated this proposal for some time now and have been busy exploring several alternative options.”

Padraig Harrington: “As a traditionalist I am pleased. It's for the greater good of the game. I think if belly putters were invented today, they'd definitely be banned, I think everybody agrees with that. I think the issue is should they be banned after 15, 20 years of people using them and I think the R&A and USGA have come to the conclusion that if they don't move now it's becoming so commonplace in the junior game that people are going to think it's normal. The majority of people using the belly putter in professional golf know there's an issue with it. You hear guys using it saying 'well I'm going to use it as long as it's legal.’ But the kids coming into the game, they don't realize there's an issue. The real problem the rules authorities are having is that they're seeing kids at 12 years of age who have never picked up a short putter. They've gone straight to a belly putter because they think that's what's right.”

LPGA: “The LPGA has consistently conducted our official events in accordance with the Rules of Golf as defined by the USGA and the R&A. We certainly respect golf’s governing bodies and their longstanding desire to protect and promote the best interests of the game. The proposed new Rule 14-1b prohibiting ‘anchoring the club’ in making a stroke is not yet final and the LPGA will wait with interest while the USGA and R&A consider further comments and suggestions from the golf community. In the meantime, we will continue to discuss this proposed change with our players and provide our input and thoughts directly to the USGA and R&A.”

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.