On Tuesday, the USGA and R&A finalized their ruling on the hotly debated topic of anchored putting. Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of the R&A released the following statement: “We recognize this has been a divisive issue, but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf.”
The issue of anchored putting has gained popularity in recent years as four of the last six major champions have all used the technique: Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship), Webb Simpson (2012 US Open), Ernie Els (2012 British Open), and Adam Scott (2013 Masters). Additionally, anchored putting has gained momentum within the junior golf ranks as well.
The PGA Tour and the PGA of America took public stances against the ruling, largely in part because of the widespread use among players, during a 90-day comment period following the initial proposal last November. The players themselves have been equally divided; some, such as Tiger Woods, have publicly supported the ban, while many players using an anchored stroke have felt like victims to a ruling with a lack of supporting evidence.
The debate on this topic will likely continue as a possibility for a variety of lawsuits from professional players to equipment manufacturers may take legal action against golf’s governing bodies. It will also be interesting to see how the PGA Tour reacts to the finalized ruling. Despite it all, the organization could potentially ignore the ruling and play under a different set of rules. However, the US Open and British Open are championships held by the USGA and the R&A, and would be played under the new rules.
Regardless, the ruling is final and will fall into effect at the beginning of the 2016 season.