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USGA's Davis open to enacting rule prior to 2016

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A day after proposing one of the most significant rules changes in the game’s history, U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive that the general reaction has been “very positive,” and that “the more people learn about it, even if they disagree, are saying, ‘OK, I understand it and I accept it.’”

Well, not everyone.

On Wednesday, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee made an impassioned plea for the governing bodies to consider bifurcation, or a separate set of rules of touring pros and amateurs.

Davis, however, said Thursday that even during this unprecedented 90-day comment window, they are unlikely to adopt two sets of rules.

“To bifurcate something this fundamental is illogical,” Davis said. “One of the great things about golf is that we all play by the same set of rules. If we start to bifurcate we’re going to quickly have a situation where it’s really chaotic.

“We are steadfast in our belief that one set of rules is one of our guiding principles. And we believe that this is absolutely, long-term, in the bad interest of the game, and we are not prepared to go in that direction at all.”

Another point of contention, particularly among tour pros: Why wait three more years to implement the change? Sure, the Rules of Golf is published every four years, meaning this new rule (14-1b) would be effective Jan. 1, 2016, but how will those players who win with an anchored putter now be perceived?

PGA Tour player Steve Flesch was among the most vocal, writing on Twitter, “Enough with the 90 days and actual rule change in 3 yrs. USGA just needs to implement the rule and move on. … What the hell was the rush to announce the anchoring ban when it doesn’t matter for 3 yrs? Show some guts and make it effective 1 yr from now.”

Davis told Golf Channel that, indeed, the rule could be enacted sooner if there is enough support to make the change.

“This is an example of give us comments, give us feedback (in the 90-day window before the rule is finalized),” he said. “It would be unusual to make that change then, but if the R&A and USGA feel it’s in the best interest to deviate from that, we’d certainly talk about that.”