PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem addressed the media Wednesday to discuss the mandatory players’ meeting that was held the previous night at Torrey Pines. The main topic discussed: The governing bodies’ proposed rule to ban the anchored stroke, beginning in 2016.
Q: Is there any scenario in which the Tour would not go along with the rule?
Finchem: “Our objective always has been to try our best to follow the rules as promulgated by the USGA and the R&A. We believe in the notion that one body of rules is important, and that's always our intent. We just reserve the option not to, if we have overriding reasons not to do so. And that's happened a couple of times. … So, yes. Technically there is that possibility. However, it certainly wouldn't be our objective. Our objective is to follow the rules and keep the rules together.”
Q: What is the next step in this process?
Finchem: “We will continue discussions with our Player Advisory Council and our board over those weeks and determine what that reaction would be. … Personally, I view the professional game as being the strongest it's ever been. So I don't like to see distractions, but it's not a perfect world. This is kind of a distraction.”
Q: If the Tour does decide to go along with the ban, would you look at implementing the ban sooner than what the USGA has proposed (2016)?
Finchem: “My view would be to move it quicker, if it's going to happen because it continues to be a distraction if you don't. You have players on television, in front of galleries, playing with a method that has been outlawed, even though the enforcement date is later. That's in and of itself the makings of a distraction. On the other hand, if you're a player who has grown up using that method, your livelihood depends on it, you probably are inclined to not want it to go into effect for a period of time. Here again, the issue is damned if you do, damned if you don't to some extent, so it needs to be thought through carefully.”
Q: Do you think there is a willingness amongst the players to play with a different set of rules than the amateurs?
Finchem: “I think at its core we all know there are rules in golf that don't make a lot of sense. You just read them. So from time to time, they get addressed. So there is always some level of sentiment to that. … I do think that the USGA and R&A have been talking to us for the last year or two about the possibility of working on simplification of the rules of golf, which is probably a healthy thing. A set of rules that would be more easily understood by the average player and consequently more adhered to. So there are some things under discussion.”