R&A going to call time on Anchoring

R&A

Ernie Els/ The Open Champion 2012/ Getty Images

The dust had hardly settled over the Royal Lytham & St Annes course, scene of  The Open 2012 and Ernie Els anchoring assisted win on Monday when Peter Dawson of the R&A issued a statement about how soon they would be addressing the problem;

“This decision has not been taken, but I think we are going to say something in a few months rather than years. Anchoring is what we’re looking at, method of stroke, and it’s all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that fixed pivot point is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest, I don’t distinguish.”

Mr Dawson said that data shows 14-15 percent of the field regularly use a longer putter, and at the Open Championship, that number increased to 27.5 percent. Any future ruling would not invalidate the wins of  The Open champion Ernie Els, PGA champion Keegan Bradley and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, officially or unofficially.

“It doesn’t detract in any way from the winner as long as he obeys the rules of play at the time. Bobby Jones used concave-faced clubs for some of his major championships and they were outlawed later.”

 USGA executive director Mike Davis remains focused on a decision that is best for the entire sport;

“Together with the R&A, we remain deliberate in our review, and are keen on getting any decision right for the long-term, for the game and for all golfers, rather than rush to judgment.”

Strange fact, is what Ernie Els said after Trevor Immelman had won the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open Tournament Players Championship of Europe, using a belly putter;

“It’s become such an easy way to putt. Nerves and skill in putting is part of the game. Take a tablet if you can’t handle it.”

After switching to the belly putter, his demeanor had changed to if you can’t beat them, join them;

“As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

I guess The Big Easy found out the hard way, there is no tablet to help you win at golf.

What do you think, is anchoring “cheating? “

BBC in danger of losing The Open coverage, due to incompetence

The BBC is in danger of losing their coverage of golf’s greatest title, The Open, after golf bosses criticised their handling of  The Masters in Augusta. Most of the classicism surrounds their lack of coverage of the game and use of celebrity interviewers. The worst offender was England cricket captain Michael Vaughan who attracted embarrassing ridicule at the Masters by not knowing the number of Green Jackets won by Tiger Woods. After that gaff he compounded the enormous error by leaving the course and final presentation  before the end of play on the final day to go on holiday. Eternal shame on you Michael, and heads should have rolled at the bosses at the top. The BBC is run by the old school tie network, and nothing will change the way they do things, and for that they will lose The Open coverage when the contract runs out in 2016. These people only rate The Open as a B-listed event in the country’s sporting crown jewels, just like the Ryder Cup, incompetence of the highest order. They will only show six days of live golf coverage from next year, these will be the first two days of Augusta and the Open Championship, this will be the only live golf on the BBC from 2013 because of cost cutting.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson has called upon the Corporation to change their restrictive policy or seriously jeopardize losing out on the oldest Major when the current deal runs out in 2016.

“We have certainly had that conversation with the BBC. It is not just golf but tennis that for financial reasons they are making towards the bigger events. Like anything in life, you need to be in practice to do it well and keep up with advances in technology. We obviously want the Open championship to to be seen by as many people as possible. But the BBC know they have got to get off the financial plateau. They know we have got our eye on them.”

Commenting on the Michael Vaughan incident  Dawson added:

“It seemed rather unusual. But matters like that are best left to the BBC.”

Veteran commentator Peter Alliss said:

“It’s like playing poker with someone who has millions when you only have hundreds. The BBC can’t compete. But at the Open, we go through from 9 in the morning until 7.30 at night for four days on the BBC with no interruptions for commercials and it’s there for your licence fee.”

The 141st Open, and the 11th at Royal Lytham , will be staged July 19-22, the course has been lengthened in honor of receiving the worlds best players, and longest hitters. The course at Royal Lytham and St. Annes has been lengthened by 181 yards for this year’s British Open, with all but two holes having been altered since the last time the tournament was held there in 2001.

Tiger Woods is against belly putters

Tiger Woods is against belly putters, he refers to himself as a traditionalist, and that he is opposed to belly putters or any club anchored against a player’s body. He stated at a press conference at Pebble Beach;

ERIC RISBERG / AP

“I’ve never been a fan. I believe putting is the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. I believe that’s how the game should be played.”

As I have said earlier the Belly and long putters have become much more popular in the pro ranks, and Keegan Bradley became the first major winner to use one at last year’s PGA Championship. Now golf’s governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, said last week that they were taking a fresh look on implementing a  leaning your body weight on the putter, affords a player an unfair advantage in high wind conditions. Tiger has been speaking with R&A Chief Executive Peter Dawson on the subject for years, particularly on drafting the tricky language that could present challenges to enforcing such a rule. Woods said he has gone back and forth with Dawson on how to tackle the wording, and he offered a logical suggestion;

My idea was to have it so that the putter would be equal to or less than the shortest club in your bag, and I think with that, we’d be able to get away from any type of belly or long putter.”
Of  his own game Tiger said;

“I feel very at peace, I think it’s more fun now than it used to be because now my kids are getting at an age where they want to see daddy on TV.  They say, ‘daddy, you’re going to a golf tournament, are you going to be on TV. And I said, ‘Well, I have to play well.’ ‘Well, daddy, can you please play well?’

Asked about his match up with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo,  in the pro-am format at Pebble Beach, Tiger said;

“Romo’s playing from the up tees this week, which will be fun. That will be good for us. You guys probably don’t know this, but they want to give him a plus-three handicap, which is complete B.S. I mean, he’s a scratch. I play scratch every tournament, I’m a scratch.
“He’s competitive and he’s been grinding hard. It’s been cool to see. He’s been calling me quite a bit, sending me video of his golf swing, What can I do, what can I do?'”

Romo aside, it will be interesting to see how the belly putter debate pans out.