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USGA won’t delay anchoring ban for amateurs

The ban on the anchored putting stroke will go into effect in 2016 -- for pros and everyday golfers alike.

Stephen Dunn

The USGA on Wednesday thanked the PGA Tour and PGA of America for caving in and supporting its impending ban on anchored putting and showed its gratitude by nixing the suggestion that the governing body delay the rule change for recreational players.

The two groups announced on Monday that they had turned tail from their original vehement opposition to the scheme that will force golfers like reigning Masters champ Adam Scott and 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson to stop jamming long putters into guts, chests, or any other body parts, and would fall in line with the USGA and R&A’s Rule 14-1b. While doing so, they suggested -- as the USGA did in 2008 with the grooves rule -- that the regulators give amateurs time beyond the Jan. 1, 2016, deadline for elite golfers to make the switch.

Paul Goydos, a member of the tour’s policy board told Golfweek’s Jeff Rude that such an exception was a reasonable compromise.

“What’s the rush about the 12-handicapper changing?” Goydos said. “He doesn’t have the same amount of time to get ready because we practice every day and he plays twice a month or so. So why not move it back?

“I get that they don’t want guys anchoring to win majors. But do we really want to force these [recreational] guys to stop? What’s the gain? If we push it to 2024, how does that hurt the game?”

Rather than deign to respond to the recommendation, the USGA countered by saying, nah.

“The United States Golf Association is pleased with the decision by the PGA Tour and The PGA of America to follow Rule 14-1b, when it goes into effect in January 2016, for their respective competitions,” the rules-maker said in a statement on the eve of the long July 4 weekend. “As set forth in our report, ‘Explanation of Decision to Adopt Rule 14-1b,’ the game benefits from having a single set of rules worldwide, applicable to all levels of play, and the acceptance of Rule 14-1b by the PGA Tour and The PGA of America supports the game in this regard.”

With Scott and his eight anchoring compatriots deciding against any legal action over the coming change, that, boys and girls, would appear to be that.

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