Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be nowhere to be seen when the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship wraps up Sunday, so with his two cash cows grazing elsewhere, PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem had to do something spectacular to keep golf fans glued to their TV screens.
To that end, the commish will announce during his regularly scheduled chat with NBC sometime after 2 p.m. ET that the tour opposes the USGA and R&A’s proposed ban on anchored putting, according to Michael Bamberger. Finchem will reportedly make his remarks after hearing last week from the Players Advisory Council and the Tour Policy Board that his golfers want nothing to do with the prohibition, which golf governing boards proposed to enact in 2016.
The tour will supply the USGA with its official stance in writing as well, but Bamberger pointed out that Finchem’s appearance will be all about a PR blitz aimed at lining up support among everyday players.
“He's going on TV, during the final day of the Accenture Match Play Championship, because he knows how this game is really played. It's being waged, as all fights are in this unprincipled age, in the court of public opinion,” Bamberger wrote. “He wants the golfing public to be behind the Tour's position. War is on, and he's playing to win.”
Bamberger said that the USGA, which in his opinion, was “doing what's in the best interests of the game,” would likely eventually back down from its proposed mandate despite support from legends like Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer. With strong opposition emanating from the PGA of America and, for obvious reasons, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els -- practitioners of the stroke who happen to have won three of the past five major championships -- Bamberger sounded the death knell for a ban on anchored putting.
“The USGA has to realize that doing the right thing is not enough these days,” he said. “You have to figure out how to win the war on Twitter, and the USGA failed there.”