Adam Scott reveals he may sue the USGA and R&A over anchoring ban

Ross Kinnaird

Adam Scott reveals he is one of nine PGA Tour players willing to go to court over the recently announced ban on anchored putting.

Adam Scott, the first Australian to win the Masters and the first golfer to earn a major championship with a broomstick putter, revealed Friday that he is one of nine PGA Tour players who may go to court to preserve the right to anchor their flat sticks.

Scott joined Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson as three of the nine players to come out about their affiliation with Boston-based attorney, Harry Manion.

“Adam Scott authorized me to [make public] that I represent him and that he has asked me to advise him and explore his legal options,” Manion told SBNation Friday.

Scott, who earned his first major at Augusta in April, is slated to play next week in the Memorial Tournament and hoped to staunch speculation about whether he would participate in litigation to block the USGA and R&A from implementing an anchoring ban beginning in 2016.

“He said, ‘I’m going to be in Ohio on Tuesday and I’m sure I’m going to be asked about it and I want you to continue to represent me and take me through this,’” Manion said Scott told him.

The 32-year-old, who added a Scotty Cameron for Titleist Futura X prototype putter to his bag in early 2011, said, via Manion, that he saw no reason to hide the fact that he had retained counsel.

Manion, a high-profile attorney who represents owners of professional sports teams, professional athletes, agents, and coaches, as well as high-ranking corporate clients and members of the media, has been working with Scott, Clark, Pettersson, and six other golfers since January. The players’ plan, since golf’s regulators announced last week that they would go ahead with their proposal to outlaw anchoring, is to wait for the PGA tour to determine if it will stand by its public opposition to the scheme or go along with the new rule.

Thanks in large part to Clark’s impassioned defense of anchoring, Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in February that his players “did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interests of golf or the PGA Tour.” After the USGA and R&A handed down their pronouncement on Tuesday, the tour issued a wait-and-see notice.

“We will now begin our 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,” read the tour’s statement.

With the tour’s player advisory council set to meet next week and a policy board confab slated for July, Manion said he expected a decision from Finchem within six weeks.

With his Masters victory, Scott, who exorcised the demons of a final-round collapse at last year’s British Open, became the fourth of the last six major champions to wield a long putter. The Aussie, who maneuvers what Gary Player refers to as a “nose” putter," has been an outspoken critic of the pending anchoring ban.

“My belief is [golf’s governing boards] are making a mistake with this decision,” Scott told Golf Channel’s Gary McCord during the Tavistock Cup in March. “I have to question the methodology they’ve used in getting to this proposed ban and maybe banning it is based on zero evidence whatsoever.”

At the time, Scott sounded resigned to his fate.

“The other tours made their stance very clear and that’s all we can go on for the moment,” said Scott. “We’ll just have to adjust at some point.”

Scott said after his Masters triumph that he had no idea if his victory would have an impact on USGA and R&A’s anchoring decision but that it was only a matter of time before users of long putters hoisted major trophies.

“It was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment, because you know, these are the best players in the world and they practice thousands of hours,” Scott told reporters after defeating Angel Cabrera in a playoff for the green jacket. “They are going to get good with whatever they are using. It's inevitable.

“I don't know that is going to have any impact on any decisions upcoming.”

Now he knows, and, according to Manion, if Scott has to give up his Scotty Cameron, he’ll go down swinging.

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