Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (Sports Network) - The PGA Tour Policy Board announced
on Monday that it will go along with Rule 14-1b and make anchored putters
illegal on tour.
At the same time, the Board and the PGA of America called on the USGA to
extend the period amateurs can use anchored putters beyond January 1, 2016,
the date which the ban is scheduled to take effect.
PGA Tour events are conducted using USGA rules, but the tour reserves the
right to make modifications as needed.
"In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still
varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it
is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally
affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the
PGA Tour," said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. "The Board
also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable
strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable
and would avoid confusion."
In late November, the R&A and the USGA announced that "long putters and belly
putters would not be banned, just the act of anchoring any club against a
player's body during a shot."
The tour originally was opposed to the rule, but the governing bodies
announced in May that the rule would take effect in 2016, the next time the
rules of golf are officially published.
Like the groove rules for clubs, the Policy Board, "Continues to believe that
extending the time period the ban would go into effect for amateurs would be
beneficial for golf participation and the overall health of the game."
A new rule for groove configuration passed in 2008, but was not applied for
elite play until 2010. That same rule doesn't do into effect until 2024 for
"Although the Board has elected to follow the USGA in this case at the elite
level, it continues to be mindful of its responsibility to review future rule
changes that might be adopted by the USGA in order to determine whether they
should apply to PGA Tour competitions," Finchem said. "It is not inconceivable
that there may come a time in the future when the Policy Board determines that
a rule adopted by the USGA, including in the area of equipment, may not be in
the best interests of the PGA TOUR and that a local rule eliminating or
modifying such a USGA rule may be appropriate.
"Having said that, we have been assured by the USGA that as we move forward we
will have an open and effective communication process on a number of levels
with the decision makers at the USGA. Importantly, this will include a direct
communication between the Commissioner's Office of the PGA Tour and the USGA
Executive Committee. Such a process will ensure that our position is fully and
carefully considered and addressed in future rule making."
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