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Posts tagged ‘Mike Davis’

Belly Putter Ban Imminent ?

It is commonly understood an official from the R&A will make presentations to the golf playing professionals at this week’s HSBC WGC Champions event in Shenzhen and then at next week’s Barclays Singapore OpenMike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA, has already held such a seminar with PGA Tour players. It is likely that they will take a formal vote in March, to decide if, and when, the ban will come into force. It is possible that a ban could be in place for competition from the start of 2013, or they may wait until the end of the current rules cycle which runs through December 2015. Either way it looks fairly certain that  they are going to eradicate the belly putter altogether. The catalyst for this action seems to be the fact that three of the last five major winners have used belly-putters. Strangely enough there is no mention of the broom-stick putter in this decision-making process, but if the ruling is based on Anchoring, rather than the length of the putter, jamming a putter under your chin, or chest would also be eliminated.

Davis Love 111, the US Ryder Cup captain, attended the meeting with the USGA representative in Georgia, he expressed the view that whatever path the authorities took, they should proceed with haste.

” If they said today, we met with the Tour and we’re going to change putters; Keegan Bradley is going to get himself a conforming putter and he’s still going to be a really good putter. He’s just going to have to make a change, but you’d rather not talk about it for three years and have it be a distraction.”

Webb Simpson, the US Open champion is already practicing with a conventional putter, in readiness of a rule change, although he disagree’s with the argument for a ban;

” I’m friends with a lot of the R&A and the USGA guys and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game. But I don’t think it’s a good decision. If you look at the stats, last year there was no one in the top 20 of the strokes gained category who anchored a putter. So you have to throw out the argument of  it’s an advantage right there. There’s a bunch of arguments going around but I haven’t heard a good one yet.”

Players like Matt Kuchar, who use a long putter but do not Anchor it will be free to continue using such equipment if the ban itself is centered on the anchoring point and not just the length of the putter. It will be extremely interesting to see how this event pans out, is it really going to make the game better, or fairer, I actually doubt it.

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? “

Is This the End of the Belly Putter ?

Mike Davis of the USGA says that they and the R&A are taking a fresh look at the  phenomenon of the belly putter, and it’s place in the game of golf. Anchoring, as it is commonly called in R&A and USGA circles, refers in general to any putting method in which the putter is secured against the body.  Davis who in the past  has talked sympathetically about golfers whose careers have been saved or extended by chest putters or belly putters has changed his stance on the hot topic. He was speaking at the  USGA annual meeting, which ended Saturday evening at the Houston Hilton Post Oak Hotel. These are his words on the subject;

“All of a sudden this has become a much bigger topic, the USGA and R&A have been talking about this at length. We are looking at it from a perspective that,  what we should look at for everything. What is good for the game, for all golfers, long term I will tell you, the R&A was in Far Hills (N.J.) last week. We have an annual meeting where we talk about all kinds of issues about how we govern the game worldwide.”

“We did talk about various equipment issues, including anchoring. Our board  the USGA Executive Committee, did talk about it this week as well. There are no outcomes at this point.”

“It is something we have taken a fresh look at. More players are using it, both on the elite level and the recreational level. We want to be sure that we are looking at all the angles and thinking about what is in the best interests both of the traditions of the game, the history of the game, and what we think would be good for the game.”

The R&A have a particular view that they do not like the fact that golfers can steady themselves by using a putter as a crutch in windy, rainy or cold weather. In essence, they are steadying themselves with the putter. This was never intended under the Rules of Golf. They are using the putter for something other than a traditional stroke.

If they do change the rules it will not be to ban the belly putter, but rather the method of putting, which is anchoring.

Webb Simpson lines up his birdie putt on the 18th hole during the final round of The Greenbrier Classic.Photo by Getty Images

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