PGA Tour may oppose anchored putting ban, says Brad Faxon

Gregory Shamus

The PGA Tour may decide as early as Monday to encourage the USGA and R&A to take back their proposal to ban anchored putting, according to Brad Faxon.

Commissioner Tim Finchem will convene a 5 p.m. ET conference call of the tour’s policy board to determine an official response to golf governing bodies’ bid to outlaw the stroke Keegan Bradley and several others use with their long putters, Faxon said in a first-person “special” column Sunday for Golf.com.

The game’s regulators set a 90-day comment period, which will expire at the end of February, for discussion about the recommendation they announced in November. Faxon, who served on the policy board for four terms, believes Finchem will use the conference call to urge board members to reject the USGA’s plan, which would prohibit anchored putting starting in 2016.

Faxon, renowned throughout golf as one of the game’s premier wielders of the flat stick, said he personally favored the ban and observed, essentially, that better late than never regarding the USGA’s edict.

“I believe lodging the butt end of the putter in your naval, or holding it against your chest or chin, does not constitute a traditional golf swing and is not in the inherent nature of what we could call a ‘swing,’” Faxon wrote. “If your goal is to make a proper decision, timing should be irrelevant. It's never too late to right a wrong.”

Finchem opposed “a rules controversy” and would advocate that the tour “urge the USGA to back off the proposed ban,” said Faxon, who opined that if the ban goes through the powers-that-be in Ponte Vedra “will very likely” create their own “condition of competition” that would continue to accept anchored putting on the PGA, Web.com, and Champions tours.

“If that happens, there will be chaos,” Faxon wrote. “The USGA could quickly lose its authority as the governing body of American golf.”

The eventual outcome, said Faxon, was anybody’s guess.

“In the end, I believe the USGA will not back off the proposed ban, and that the ban will be accepted on the PGA Tour. I have to think that the USGA anticipated this level of pushback from the Tour,” he wrote. “But it really is also possible that the USGA will back down. It's so hard to know. This is completely unchartered territory.”

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