Langer, McCarron, USGA respond to Chamblee criticism

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The USGA and two prominent PGA Tour Champions players issued statements Friday after Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee said that the enforcement of the anchoring ban has been “appalling.”

Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron have come under scrutiny this year after slow-motion replays showed that their long putters brushed their shirts and, perhaps, were at some point anchored to their bodies, which would be in violation of Rule 14-1b, which went into effect in 2016. Chamblee, in a column that appeared on this website, said that the rule must be rewritten so there is a clear separation between the gripping hand and body, and that Langer and McCarron, in particular, showed a “lack of character” by continuing to putt while under suspicion.

Langer tops the senior money list after capturing the first two majors of the year, while McCarron has won once and currently ranks fourth. Both players remain adamant that they have done nothing wrong, and the USGA made clear that it has not seen any evidence of a player breaking the anchoring rule. 

On Friday evening, the three parties released a joint statement:

Langer: “During my 45-year career as a professional golfer, I have called penalties on myself. I believe in honesty and integrity, and I could not live with myself if I broke a rule and did not incur the penalty. I’m certain that I am not anchoring the putter and that my putting stroke is not violating the Rules of Golf. On several occasions, I have been in contact with the USGA and rules officials on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, and each time I have been assured that my putting stroke is within the Rules of Golf. I will remain open and honest with rules officials and the governing bodies, and I will continue to play with the same integrity that I’ve displayed throughout my career.

McCarron: “I have putted with a long putter since 1991 – over half my life – and my putting stroke has not been anchored since the end of the 2015 season. I have logged more than 1,500 hours practicing without anchoring my putter, and the more I practice, the better I get. I’d like to emphatically say that I do not anchor my hand, arm or club against my body during my putting stroke. I have worked with the USGA and PGA Tour Champions rules officials to ensure that I am within the Rules of Golf, and I have extended many invitations to demonstrate and teach people how to use a long putter without anchoring. I have never competed dishonestly because I have the utmost respect for the game of golf, and I will continue to represent myself and the sport to the best of my ability."

USGA: Over the last two years, the USGA has worked with the PGA Tour Champions and other professional tours to support education and adoption of Rule 14-1b.  We are confident that Rule has been applied fairly and consistently and have seen no evidence of a player breaching the Rule, which does not prohibit a hand or club to touch a player’s clothing in making a stroke. Integrity is at the heart of the Rules and how the game is played worldwide, and this essential value has made the game enjoyable for all golfers.  We will continue to work with our partners at The R&A to listen and review all of golf’s Rules, with an eye on making them easier to understand and apply.”