Research: How anchored putters fared in 2012

RSS

One of the most popular arguments against the governing bodies’ proposed rule change is this: A ban on anchoring is based more on aesthetics than evidence. In other words, if anchoring the putter against a part of the body is so advantageous, why isnt everyone using a long putter? And where is the data to support a potential boost in performance?

Mike Davis, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association, has insisted that the ban is more a reaction to the “growing advocacy” among players and instructors than the fact that three of the past five major winners have used a belly putter. As R&A chief executive Peter Dawson told Golf Channel: “This is not a major-championship issue. This has been about the general upsurge in usage.”

For that, they do have data: In the past 20 years, the percentage of players using the belly putter has increased from 2 to 4 percent in the 1980s to one survey estimating its usage at 15 percent this season.

But does anchoring really help an elite player at the PGA Tour level? Well, with an assist from the Golf Channel Research Unit, here is how some of the most prominent anchored putters fared on the greens in 2012:

Keegan Bradley

Age: 26

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 1 (2011 PGA Championship, the first to win while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.377 (27th)

Putts Per Round: 28.88 (T54)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.758 (T38)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.77% (T50)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.17% (21st)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.69% (72nd)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 7.36% (23rd)


Webb Simpson

Age: 27

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 1 (2012 U.S. Open, second player to win while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.213 (T54)

Putts Per Round: 28.79 (T42)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.735 (5th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.51% (76th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 47.05% (65th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 17.02% (T48)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 8.91% (6th)


Brendan Steele

Age: 29

PGA Tour Wins: 1 (2011)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.106 (119th)

Putts Per Round: 30.03 (186th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.836 (190th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.81% (133rd)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 47.27% (59th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 12.92% (161st)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 3.13% (185th)


Adam Scott

Age: 32

PGA Tour Wins: 8 (won 2011 WGC-Bridgestone while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.204 (148th)

Putts Per Round: 29.53 (T138)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.786 (T106)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.78% (T134)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.22% (144th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 14.46% (116th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 9.39% (4th)


Matt Kuchar

Age: 34

PGA Tour Wins: 4 (1 while anchoring, 2012 Players)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.409 (25th)

Putts Per Round: 28.51 (15th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.752 (27th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 97.21% (26th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.76% (15th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 16.27% (60th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 5.91% (82nd)


Carl Pettersson

Age: 35

PGA Tour Wins: 5 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.450 (21st)

Putts Per Round: 28.46 (12th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.740 (T9)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 97.41% (16th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.82% (14th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.56% (76th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.78% (135th)


Tim Clark

Age: 36

PGA Tour wins: 1 (won 2010 Players while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.123 (T123)

Putts Per Round: 29.33 (T108)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.790 (T123)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.47% (T80)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.19% (145th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 13.41% (T148)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 8.24% (14th)


Ernie Els

Age: 43

PGA Tour Wins: 19 (1 win while anchoring, the 2012 British Open)

Major Wins: 4 (only 1 while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.084 (112th)

Putts Per Round: 29.40 (T119)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.797 (T144)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.32% (94th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 44.84% (104th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 16.37% (58th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 3.93% (169th)


Scott McCarron

Age: 47

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +1.168

Putts Per Round: 28.92

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.823

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 94.03%

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 58.33%

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 33.33%

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.35%

Note: made only six starts in 2012 and is unranked in statistics


Rocco Mediate

Age: 49

PGA Tour Wins: 6 (earned first 5 while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.021 (97th)

Putts Per Round: 29.09 (T76)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.786 (T106)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.58% (T68)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.42% (139th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 12.94% (160th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 6.41% (60th)

Note: used both conventional and long putter in 2012


Vijay Singh

Age: 49

PGA Tour Wins: 34 (14 of which while anchoring)

Major Wins: 3 (none while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.370 (170th)

Putts Per Round: 29.41 (T121)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.787 (T112)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.53% (151st)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 41.38% (177th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.19% (T90)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.86% (128th)


Sam Torrance

Age: 59

European Tour Wins: 21 (9 of which while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Putts Per Round: 30.70 (54th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.853 (65th)

Note: 2012 European Senior Tour statistics