FORT WORTH, Texas – The ban on anchoring isn’t scheduled to go into the books until 2016, and that’s if the PGA Tour decides to adhere to the new rule, but the impact of Tuesday’s announcement could already be felt at Colonial, site of this week’s Tour stop.
Most equipment manufacturers say that long putter use on Tour, which ranges from 10 to 13 percent depending on the tournament, had already started to drop as the USGA and R&A inched closer to Tuesday’s announcement.
Anecdotally, Vijay Singh seems to be the only player who normally uses a long putter that spent Tuesday and Wednesday tinkering with a standard-length model, although it seems likely the Fijian switched for performance reasons (he ranks 184th on Tour in strokes gained-putting) and not as a result of Tuesday’s news.
Regardless of the timeframe, players are looking for alternatives and manufacturers have already started to respond. Ping has introduced an “arm lock” putter that allows players to use the Matt Kuchar-style of putting, which is approved under the new rule.
While TaylorMade unveiled a putter at the Honda Classic with a back-weighted grip that has already landed some converts, including Lucas Glover at the Wells Fargo Championship. The back-weighted grip is twice as heavy as a normal grip (about 120 grams) and features a shaft that is 2 to 3 inches longer than normal. Company officials say the effect of the grip is to slow the end of the club down.
While it remains unclear how the Tour will react to the USGA and R&A’s decision to press ahead with the ban, the game’s best players are preparing for a future without anchoring.