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Proposed anchor ban would affect LPGA's Hjorth

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PHOENIX – Maria Hjorth may be the LPGA pro most affected if golf’s governing bodies go ahead and adopt a proposed ban on anchoring.

Hjorth, 39, has been using a long putter for 10 years. Mo Martin is the only other LPGA player using a long putter today. Stacy Prammanasudh, Pernilla Lindberg, Jodi Ewart and Kris Tamulis are among approximately a half-dozen players who are using, or have recently used, belly putters.

“I went back to a standard putter about three years ago,” said Hjorth, a five-time LPGA winner. “Not good. I put it in play for five tournaments and missed four cuts.”

Hjorth first went to a long putter to cure the yips. She is anchoring a long putter at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup this week. She isn’t sure what she will do if the ban is adopted and the LPGA accepts the rule change. She’s considering trying to use the long putter without anchoring it. She would simply move her top hand off her chest and swing it freely.

“My concern with that, and I’ve addressed this with the USGA, is that it can look like you’re anchoring when you’re not anchoring,” Hjorth said. “It’s a tough situation.”

The LPGA is continuing to evaluate the proposal but is expected to accept what the governing bodies ultimately rule.

“I've said this many times, there's nobody better placed to establish the right rules of the game than the R&A and the USGA,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said. “They don't have a stake in it in any other way, in equipment, or players, and we have been playing by their rules for a long time.  I certainly expect the LPGA will be playing by their rules for a long time from now on.”