After Further Review: Anchoring snafu; Poulter primed for Ryder Cup


Zac Blair reacts to a missed chip-in with his fairway wood at the Sony Open. (Getty)

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

On anchoring confusion...

Well that didn’t take long.

In just the second PGA Tour event since the anchoring ban took effect, Zac Blair was questioned by officials Sunday about whether he anchored the butt end of his fairway wood against his belly while chipping to the 71st hole at the Sony Open. Replays brought into question whether the club was pressed against his belly. The replay clearly showed the club pushing into his shirt, but there was no way to know if the club was actually braced against his body, as his shirt was tucked loosely into his pants.

And that’s the potential problem with this rule. There’s going to be no way of knowing definitively if a club’s actually anchored to a player’s body, especially when players are in sweaters and jackets in cool weather.

Blair, who was in contention, told Golf Channel’s Steve Burkowski that he didn’t even know what rules officials were asking about after the round. He said he wasn’t anchoring, and there’s no reason to doubt him, but this rule is going to create suspicion, often unfairly, especially if players continue to use long putters, with their top hand slightly away from their chests, as opposed to anchored to their chests. At the British Open, who’s going to know if the butt end of a long putter is only pressed into a player’s jacket and not into his chest? We expect players will abide, but it’s human nature to be suspicious. If somebody’s going to wonder about Blair in a golf shirt in Hawaii’s warmth, suspicion is likely to rear its head more than once this PGA Tour season. – Randall Mell

On Europe's match-play dominance ...

The biennial thorn in the U.S. Ryder Cup team’s side seems intent to reprise his role as European hero later this year if this week’s EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur was any indication.

Although most of European captain Darren Clarke’s top players are content skipping the second-tier team event that pits a team from the Continent against Asia’s top players, Poulter made the trip undoubtedly looking to impress this year’s captain.

The plan worked, with Poulter – along with Lee Westwood – delivering a point on all three days of play to help lift the European team to a commanding 18 1/2 to 5 1/2 victory. – Rex Hoggard

On Luke Donald ...

Through 15 holes Sunday, Luke Donald looked as if he was going to record his first PGA Tour top-10 since last June. He had made four straight birdies from Nos. 11-14 and was 4 under on his round. Unfortunately, bogeys at 16 and 17 dropped him all the way down to T-28.

Sunday’s result comes just one week after the former world No. 1 publicly admitted that he considered quitting the game altogether last year. Donald has just one worldwide top-10 since the Travelers last summer – which allowed him to qualify for the Open Championship – and he managed to submarine a chance to build momentum on an easy track at Waialae.

Sure, he’s struggling with his swing and juggling instructors, but he certainly tapped into something for a brief, beautiful stretch on the back nine Sunday. Sometimes, these things are just as mental as they are technical. And, clearly, Donald is having doubts. He admitted as much. – Nick Menta

On veteran success ...

Perhaps we should slow down on all of this young gun discussion. Sure, the future generation of PGA Tour stars continue to make names for themselves in front of our eyes, but this week in Hawaii we saw that the ... more seasoned guys still have some game. 

First it was Vijay Singh, who like Davis Love III continues to play a full slate of events after age 50 thanks to his life member status. The big Fijian opened the Sony Open with a sizzling 63, briefly flirting with becoming the oldest winner in Tour history at age 52. Then there was Fred Funk, who at 59 years young became the oldest to make the cut in tournament history. Funk has always been able to play within his means - even well beyond the usual prime years on Tour - and the former Players champ again turned back the clock with a surprisingly strong effort this week in Honolulu. 

It may still be a young man's game, but clearly there are also a few members of the old guard who can still hold their own. – Will Gray