Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson may be in for some Texas-style hootin’ and hollerin’ from fans this week at Colonial Country Club, thanks to their outspoken opposition to the ban on anchored putting strokes that will go into effect in 2016.
Should the PGA Tour decide to go along with the edict handed down by golf’s rules-makers on Tuesday, the two manipulators of flat sticks jammed into their chests will likely take their fight against the anchoring prohibition from the golf course to the courtroom.
"We do have legal counsel," Clark told Golfweek after the USGA and R&A announced on Tuesday that their November proposal would indeed become law within some 31 months. "We’re going to explore our options. We’re not going to just roll over and accept this."
Clark’s impassioned plea to his colleagues during a players’ meeting earlier this year went a long way toward convincing commissioner Tim Finchem to come out against the then-proposed ban. Pettersson, who has reportedly joined Clark in enlisting the services of a Boston attorney, has likewise not been afraid to speak out against anti-anchoring efforts.
The tour issued a statement on Tuesday saying it would begin begin its process "to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation." Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members will take up the issue next month.
In the meantime, Zach Johnson will try to defend his title in this week’s tour event that is missing Europe’s top players, who are playing in England at the BMW PGA Championship. Johnson bested Jason Dufner last year, despite a final-round brain cramp that caused him to forget to replace his marker on the 18th green after moving it out of Dufner’s putting line.
Johnson and Dufner will play the opening two rounds with first-time tour winner Sang-Moon Bae, who’s fresh off his two-shot victory over Keegan Bradley at last week’s Byron Nelson Championship.
Other featured groups include:
Matt Kuchar, Martin Laird, Kevin Streelman -- Kuchar, at No. 13, is the highest ranked player in the field.
Rickie Fowler, Charl Schwartzel, Davis Love III -- Love is making his second start of the season after neck surgery in February.
Jim Furyk, Tim Clark, Derek Ernst -- Perhaps Clark can pick up some tips on switching to a shorter flat stick from an inveterate putter tinkerer, Furyk, who’s been on the short and long end of the stick.
Here’s how and when to watch the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (via PGATour.com):