Dealing with hypotheticals on the anchor ban

By Jason SobelFebruary 25, 2013, 2:10 pm

For those who haven't paid much attention to the anchored putter debate recently, let's put it into terms that everyone can understand.

In this analogy, there is a man – let's call him 'Friend A' – who is on the verge of making a major life decision, so he consults with a buddy – he’ll be 'Friend B' – as to what he should do.

Friend A: 'I'm thinking of getting a divorce from my wife. Even though we've been together for a long time, it never felt right. I've reached a boiling point lately. But I'd really like to get your opinion.'

During a 90-day waiting period, Friend B studies Friend A's marriage and educates himself about the relationship. He analyzes data. Holds meetings at night. Listens to what other people think. Finally, he offers an opinion.

Friend B: 'Well, after getting together with some mutual friends, I disagree with your stance. I'm not saying I wouldn't support you if you made this decision – not yet, at least – but I do see fault in your logic. You asked for a recommendation and I think you should stay with your wife.'

So now what?


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There are two potential options.

The first involves Friend A ignoring Friend B's advice. He goes ahead with the divorce anyway, running the risk of having his friend side with his wife, essentially losing a buddy in the process of dissolving his marriage. It leads to a strained situation at best and a complete mess at worst. Sure, when Friend A hosts a party, he can do so under his own terms, but if Friend B continually invites them to events as a couple, it turns into a power struggle that Friend A loses in embarrassing fashion.

The second scenario finds Friend B taking Friend A's advice. At the recommendation of his buddy – and others who know him very well – he decides against getting divorced. On the plus side, he keeps some continuity and consistency in his life. On the negative, though, that boiling point never dissipates, as he’s left secretly wondering whether he should have trusted his gut.

These are the two scenarios facing the U.S. Golf Association – not to mention its partner-in-crime, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. After the game’s governing bodies jointly proposed on Nov. 28 that anchored putting become banned starting in 2016, USGA executive director Mike Davis asked PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem for his organization’s own recommendation.

On Sunday, Finchem offered that recommendation, based on meetings with his membership and recent conference calls with the PGA Tour Policy Board and Players Advisory Council.

“The essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board of directors and others that looked at this,” he said, “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.”

In layman’s terms, Davis is considering a divorce from anchored putting, but Finchem is trying to convince those two crazy kids to stick it out and renew their vows.

Those who reside in corner offices in Ponte Vedra Beach are fond of saying, “We don’t deal in hypotheticals.” That’s a fine rallying cry, but this situation is wrought with nothing but them.

If … the PGA Tour continues its push to keep anchored putting legal, it sets up a massive game of chicken on a one-lane highway, with the first to flinch winding up in a roadside ditch.

If … the USGA and R&A have their way and the PGA Tour goes in another direction, welcome to the Bifurcation Era. Ironically enough, the governing bodies have all condemned having two sets of rules for professionals and amateurs, yet that’s exactly what these decisions will spawn.

If … all of these organizations steadfastly stand by their current contentions, there could someday be a time when players such as Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley could anchor their putters every week in PGA Tour events, then be forced to change strategy for the major championships. That would be the case for the U.S. Open and Open Championship. Chances are, the PGA of America would support PGA Tour local rules for the PGA Championship. Augusta National? They do whatever they want, though popular sentiment is that officials would fall in line with the USGA and R&A.

We’re still a long way from any of those hypotheticals coming to fruition, but even those who decidedly don’t like to deal in them are taking note of the potential repercussions.

While it remains to be seen how the PGA Tour’s recommendation could impact the anchored putting proposal, it’s easy to understand how this could severely change the game. Not just in a technical aspect, but it could alter relationships and strategies and the notion of professionals playing by different rules than amateurs.

Much like in the previous analogy, this situation seems likely to lead to a strained situation at best and a complete mess at worst. There are really only two potential scenarios – and neither will allow all parties to live in total harmony.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: