After a spectator at Tiger Woods’ World Challenge charged Keegan Bradley with cheating for using a belly putter, the USGA on Sunday called the charge “deplorable."
The incident, which Bradley said occurred on the 18th hole of Saturday’s third round at Sherwood Country Club, followed Wednesday’s announcement by the USGA and R&A proposing a ban on anchored putting strokes. The proposed rule change would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, unless golf’s governing bodies determine they should enact it sooner.
Here’s the complete statement from the USGA:
“This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior. As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the Rules of Golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary. Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a Rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the Rules of Golf.”
“We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator. Instead, Keegan and other PGA Tour professionals should be commended for their maturity and grace in managing through a proposed change to the Rules of Golf.”
"While we understand that the proposed Rules change would cause some short-term angst, we believe the new Rule would serve the long-term best interest of the game.”
Unfortunately, we’re guessing that the USGA will have to issue many more such statements before the rules-makers enact the ban.