Not surprisingly, much of the debate surrounding the proposed anchor-ban rule centers on the PGA Tour – namely, major winners Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson – and also how it will impact the recreational player.
One secondary concern: how the Champions Tour will be affected. Monday on “Morning Drive,” John Cook was asked whether the over-50 circuit would ignore the ban and play by its own set of rules.
“We’ve done a couple of things, like the golf cart, to kind of separate a little bit from the PGA Tour,” Cook said, “but we’ll adopt, pretty much, what the PGA Tour does. We’ll mirror that as much as we can.
“Keep in mind there are 50-year-olds on our tour and there’s a lot of things that we need to do to keep ourselves out there playing and really bring the best product to our game for our sponsors and our fans.”
The ban on anchored strokes is expected to take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. That decision will affect several of the Champions Tour’s best players, including Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer, who won the money title for the fourth time this season. The German has anchored a long putter to his sternum for the past 15 years.
Speaking to reporters this week in South Africa, Langer said, “It has been out for that long. If there is anything illegal about it, why did they not stop it right away? If it is that easy with a long putter, a belly putter, why aren’t 90 percent of the pros and 100 percent of the amateurs using it?”
This year’s Schwab Cup champion, Tom Lehman, was even more vocal in his opposition of the proposal, saying last week that the “blatantly unfair” ruling was unethical.
Cook again: “On a very general and golf-as-a-whole level, I’m just curious why they picked this fight when they said there is no evidence this (anchored) stroke is a better way to putt. I’m just curious why they picked this fight. The young kids will be fine; they’ll figure out a different way to go. But for our tour, I’m a little bit shocked by the whole thing. …
“We want those guys to be able to play. It benefits our tour as a whole. Bernhard Langer will probably find a different way to go, if he really wants to play, but we don’t want those guys to take their stacks and go home. We want them out there playing.”