By TOM LaMARRE
Commissioner Tim Finchem said on Sunday that the PGA Tour has informed the United States Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews that it opposes the proposed ban of anchored putters.
The USGA and R&A announced on Nov. 28 that they planned to outlaw putters anchored to a player’s body as of the 2016 season, but allowed for a 90-day discussion period, which ends on Thursday.
“Essentially where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour,” Finchem said on the final day of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz.
“I think there are a number of factors here … but I think the essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board of directors and others that looked at this was that in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring, and given the amount of time that anchoring has been in the game, that there was no overriding reason to go down that road.”
Finchem, who said the decision was reached after he held conference calls with members of the PGA Tour Policy Board and the Players Advisory Council earlier in the week, added that the PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association also oppose the ban.
Should the USGA and the R&A, who oversee the Rules of Golf, go through with the proposed ban, Finchem said the PGA has not determined its next move.
“Our regulations provide that we will follow the rules as promulgated by the USGA provided, however, we retain the right not to in certain instances if we see fit,” Finchem said.
“But we have not even begun that discussion. All we’ve done is done what we were asked to do, which is to give them our best input and advice on that particular initiative. That’s a different question, and it would be speculative for me to guess where that might come out.”
Keegan Bradley and others who use anchored putters have indicated they might seek legal action if the ban is implemented.