Colin Montgomerie sounded the alarm Sunday night when he warned that the PGA Tour’s stance against the proposed ban on anchored putting could threaten the game of golf.
"Very dangerous, very dangerous situation we are getting ourselves into,” Monty said on Sky Sports after commissioner Tim Finchem announced his circuit’s anti-ban bias during the final round of his tour’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. “I do hope they can sort this out very, very quickly."
With the backing of 13 of 15 members of his Players Advisory Council, Finchem declared his tour's antipathy for the USGA and R&A’s plan to outlaw the stroke most users of long putters employ. Golf’s governing bodies announced the proposal in November, allotting three months for interested parties to submit comments, pro or con, about the ban slated to take effect in 2016. The 90-day period ends on Thursday.
Montgomerie, who initially mischaracterized what the brouhaha was about, cautioned against the regulators going forward with different guidelines.
“In my view, the long putter -- whether it should have been banned 20 years ago or not -- should be banned now, and and I think [R&A chief executive] Peter Dawson is dead right, I think Mike Davis [executive director] of the USGA is dead right as well,” said Montgomerie.
“The pair of them have got together with their committees and decided this is the rules of golf and we should abide by that. To now go against that and say, ‘Right, well, my players aren’t going to go by that and we’re going to have a local rule where you can anchor the putter,’ then what happens?” Montgomerie wondered. “When you come to USGA events or the British Open, for instance, an R&A event, does that mean that you have to use a different club because this is a different rule?”
To clarify, Finchem has not stated what his tour will do if the ban goes through and said he did not intend to get into a “donnybrook” with the USGA about rules-making.
More important, the proposal says nothing about prohibiting “the long putter.” It deals solely with the way Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, and a slew of other tour golfers maneuver their lengthy clubs after lodging them to various body parts.
Matt Kuchar, who won the match-play tourney while his commissioner hogged the limelight, uses a long flat stick -- a 44.75-inch Bettinardi Signature Model 1 to be precise -- but he does not anchor it. Rather, the five-time tour winner locks the handle into his left forearm, an approach which, as things stand now, would remain legal whether the regulators enact the ban or not.