The attorney for Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson is confident that the PGA Tour will agree with his clients and decide not to follow the USGA and R&A’s lead on anchored putting, but if the circuit decides to side with the rule makers, he said there are other options.
“Hopefully, all nine of my players don’t have to make any decisions in the coming weeks, but if they do then we will have some tough choices to make,” said Harry Manion, a founding partner with the Boston-based firm Cooley, Manion and Jones. “Let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
The worst would be if the Tour and commissioner Tim Finchem decide to maintain the status quo and implement the rule, which was announced on Tuesday and would ban anchoring beginning in 2016.
“We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation,” the Tour said in a statement on Tuesday.
Manion – who has been working with nine Tour players, including Clark and Pettersson, since January – said he would expect a decision in the next two months. The Tour’s 16-member player advisory council is scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Ohio at the Memorial and the next policy board meeting is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of The Greenbrier event the first week in July.
“It’s our hope that will be the end of the matter and there will be some protection for the players (who anchor) both in the short term and the long term” Manion said. “It is our hope the Tour will declare (the new rule) a condition of competition, but that’s not the only option.”
Clark, who rallied many of his fellow Tour members with an impassioned speech in January at Torrey Pines, said this week, “We’re going to explore our options. We’re not going to just roll over and accept this.”
The Policy Board, which includes four player directors, will have the final say, but next week’s PAC meeting could be crucial in deciding if the Tour follows the rule or not. Among the 16 players on the PAC are Webb Simpson and Brendan Steele, who both use long putters and have been outspoken opponents of the ban.