He was not surprised to see that there was opposition to the USGA and R&A’s proposed anchoring ban from players as well as other organizations. Those organizations have a lot to lose if anchoring remains legal while players and other organizations have a lot to gain in some cases.
Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson have both said that they will honor the proposed rule if it passes for 2016 and they are very supportive of the USGA and the R&A. Roberts added that while he was not surprised by Bradley and Simpson’s comments, he was surprised at the intensity and tone of Tom Lehman’s comments. Lehman, who has anchored his putter in the past, was highly critical of the USGA and the R&A’s decision to propose a ban on anchoring.
Mike Davis was very clear when he laid out the reasoning behind the decision to propose a ban on anchoring when he said that over the past few years, the use of anchoring the putting stroke has increased significantly. Even though this ban will likely go into effect in 2016, Roberts expects that a player will come along with a method of anchoring one’s putter that circumvents this new rule and the reason for that is that professional golfers have a great deal on ingenuity and are very intelligent when it comes to figuring out how to maximize their performance.
When asked about the 90-day period where people and organizations can raise objections to the proposed anchoring ban, Roberts said that he does not have a problem with it and feels that this is a good decision by these organizations. It may mean that bifurcation will gain momentum in the coming weeks whether it is support for allowing anchoring on the Champions Tour or allowing anchoring in the amateur ranks. He also thinks that recreational players will continue to anchor their putters if they want to beyond 2016.
It is very interesting to see the passionate reactions among various individuals and organizations about this proposal that are not known for making strong remarks. Tom Lehman is one of the most decent players in professional golf and he is certainly not known for being vocally critical of anyone but he is passionate in his feelings that some players are going to be unfairly hurt by this change.
Another aspect to the timing of this potential ban is that the PGA TOUR could begin the 2015-2016 season with one set of rules but play under a different set in January 2016. Roberts would not be surprised to see the PGA TOUR make a special ruling to enact an anchoring ban beginning in October 2015.