I received an email from the executive director of a state golf association today regarding the proposed ban on anchored putting strokes. A quote from his email and my response follow:
... I was listening to the discussion on Morning Drive this morning about the proposed anchoring ban to be added to Rule 14. The proposed change to the rule has nothing to do with the growth of the game or the length the ball goes or research. It is simple. Is using an anchor a stroke of golf?
I understand that view and I totally disagree. I have expressed my opinion in person to Mike Davis and Peter Dawson. They have underestimated the emotion behind this. Even though I don't think it's a better way to putt (in fact I consider it inferior) and I don't use it myself, having these methods available to all golfers gives them hope. The USGA and R&A are taking hope away.
While I think an anchoring ban is unfair to professionals, my main concern is for amateur golf ... a golfer who loves the game and has been faithful to it for his entire life but now can only enjoy the game by using an anchored method. He is already being labeled a cheater. His options are limited and many in this group will quit. This is not fair. In fact it's grossly unfair.
You can call it a further way of defining a stroke but the fact is that this definition has the purpose of banning the anchored putter. The proposed ban is not based on data, but in fact it's based on appearance. One could make the same argument against left-handed strokes and swings. If there is no data suggesting anchored is better, doesn't that suggest it’s a fad and its use will eventually decline and then settle to a smaller percentage?
The PGA Tour cannot support an anchoring ban because of certain litigation from its members. The PGA of America will not support it because it takes a valuable tool away from its members and their members. The USGA and R&A are willing to risk their position as stewards of the game because current leaders have decided a method of putting that has been available and in use since the 1920s 'just doesn't look right?'
I take this position not as a critic who questions the USGA or wants to tear at it. I am a USGA champion and love the USGA along with game of golf. It's been kind to me and my family beyond belief. I simply think this is a battle that does not need to be fought. It runs the chance of fracturing the game over an issue that is really not that significant. So why push it? We are in a comment period and the comments have come in loud and clear. The USGA and R&A need to drop this issue 'for the good of the game.'