Golf Rule Change: Anchored Putter Ban Approved By USGA

The United States Golf Association announced a big rule change today. Starting January 1, 2016, golfers competing under USGA/R&A rules will no longer be able to use anchored putters.

Rule 14-1b will prohibit players from using a putter anchored to their bodies. The USGA and the R&A approved the rule change today saying that it will “protect the fundamentals” of the game.

USGA executive director Mike Davis said: “This is about protecting the fundamentals of what the game has always been about.”

The putter ban has been a hot topic in the golf world for the last year. Several golfers have started using anchored putters recently (ESPN reports that four of the last six major champions were using anchored putters) and believe that a ban on the popular club would hurt the game.

Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said: “We recognize this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf.”

Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley have all won majors with anchored putters in the last few years while golfers like Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods say that the putter should be banned.

Woods said: “I hope they go with the ban… That’s something that I’ve said, that anchoring should not be part of the game. It should be mandatory to have to swing all 14 clubs.”

In addition to dividing players, the anchored putter has also created a schism between golf’s governing bodies. The USGA and the R&A approved the ban while the PGA believes that players should be able to use anchored putter.

PGA of America President Ted Bishop, said: “We are disappointed with this outcome… As we have said publicly and repeatedly during the comment period, we do not believe 14-1b is in the best interest of recreational golfers and we are concerned about the negative impact it may have on both the enjoyment and growth of the game.”

The PGA has not made a decision about rule 14-1b but PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem did say that it was very important for all governing bodies to adapt the same set of rules.

What do you think of the anchored putter ban? Will the PGA adopt the rule change?