Research: How anchored putters fared in 2012

By Ryan LavnerNovember 28, 2012, 6:48 pm

One of the most popular arguments against the governing bodies’ proposed rule change is this: A ban on anchoring is based more on aesthetics than evidence. In other words, if anchoring the putter against a part of the body is so advantageous, why isnt everyone using a long putter? And where is the data to support a potential boost in performance?

Mike Davis, executive director of the U.S. Golf Association, has insisted that the ban is more a reaction to the “growing advocacy” among players and instructors than the fact that three of the past five major winners have used a belly putter. As R&A chief executive Peter Dawson told Golf Channel: “This is not a major-championship issue. This has been about the general upsurge in usage.”

For that, they do have data: In the past 20 years, the percentage of players using the belly putter has increased from 2 to 4 percent in the 1980s to one survey estimating its usage at 15 percent this season.

But does anchoring really help an elite player at the PGA Tour level? Well, with an assist from the Golf Channel Research Unit, here is how some of the most prominent anchored putters fared on the greens in 2012:

Keegan Bradley

Age: 26

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 1 (2011 PGA Championship, the first to win while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.377 (27th)

Putts Per Round: 28.88 (T54)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.758 (T38)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.77% (T50)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.17% (21st)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.69% (72nd)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 7.36% (23rd)

Webb Simpson

Age: 27

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 1 (2012 U.S. Open, second player to win while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.213 (T54)

Putts Per Round: 28.79 (T42)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.735 (5th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.51% (76th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 47.05% (65th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 17.02% (T48)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 8.91% (6th)

Brendan Steele

Age: 29

PGA Tour Wins: 1 (2011)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.106 (119th)

Putts Per Round: 30.03 (186th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.836 (190th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.81% (133rd)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 47.27% (59th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 12.92% (161st)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 3.13% (185th)

Adam Scott

Age: 32

PGA Tour Wins: 8 (won 2011 WGC-Bridgestone while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.204 (148th)

Putts Per Round: 29.53 (T138)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.786 (T106)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.78% (T134)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.22% (144th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 14.46% (116th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 9.39% (4th)

Matt Kuchar

Age: 34

PGA Tour Wins: 4 (1 while anchoring, 2012 Players)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.409 (25th)

Putts Per Round: 28.51 (15th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.752 (27th)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 97.21% (26th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.76% (15th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 16.27% (60th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 5.91% (82nd)

Carl Pettersson

Age: 35

PGA Tour Wins: 5 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.450 (21st)

Putts Per Round: 28.46 (12th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.740 (T9)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 97.41% (16th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 49.82% (14th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.56% (76th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.78% (135th)

Tim Clark

Age: 36

PGA Tour wins: 1 (won 2010 Players while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.123 (T123)

Putts Per Round: 29.33 (T108)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.790 (T123)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.47% (T80)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.19% (145th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 13.41% (T148)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 8.24% (14th)

Ernie Els

Age: 43

PGA Tour Wins: 19 (1 win while anchoring, the 2012 British Open)

Major Wins: 4 (only 1 while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.084 (112th)

Putts Per Round: 29.40 (T119)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.797 (T144)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.32% (94th)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 44.84% (104th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 16.37% (58th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 3.93% (169th)

Scott McCarron

Age: 47

PGA Tour Wins: 3 (all while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +1.168

Putts Per Round: 28.92

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.823

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 94.03%

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 58.33%

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 33.33%

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.35%

Note: made only six starts in 2012 and is unranked in statistics

Rocco Mediate

Age: 49

PGA Tour Wins: 6 (earned first 5 while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Strokes Gained-Putting: +0.021 (97th)

Putts Per Round: 29.09 (T76)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.786 (T106)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 96.58% (T68)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 43.42% (139th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 12.94% (160th)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 6.41% (60th)

Note: used both conventional and long putter in 2012

Vijay Singh

Age: 49

PGA Tour Wins: 34 (14 of which while anchoring)

Major Wins: 3 (none while anchoring)

Strokes Gained-Putting: -0.370 (170th)

Putts Per Round: 29.41 (T121)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.787 (T112)

Putts Inside 5 Feet: 95.53% (151st)

Putts From 5-15 Feet: 41.38% (177th)

Putts From 15-25 Feet: 15.19% (T90)

Putts From Over 25 Feet: 4.86% (128th)

Sam Torrance

Age: 59

European Tour Wins: 21 (9 of which while anchoring)

Major Wins: 0

Putts Per Round: 30.70 (54th)

Putts Per G.I.R.: 1.853 (65th)

Note: 2012 European Senior Tour statistics

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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: