Former U.S. Golf Association Executive Director David Fay appeared on Golf Channel's pre-tournament coverage of the Players this afternoon and suggested the proposed ban on anchored strokes is likely to go through unchanged from its original language.
Fay suggested there "will probably be no edits at all" to the proposal, which was announced in November, followed by a 90-day comment period. The USGA has indicated a decision is expected sometime this spring. The proposed rule would ban the stroke commonly employed by players using belly and long putters. Here is the proposal's original language, slated to appear under Rule 14, Striking the Ball, the new stipulation would be listed under Rule 14-1b, Anchoring the Club:
"In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either 'directly' or by use of an 'anchor point.'> *>
*> "Note 1: The club is anchored 'directly' when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.> *>
*> "Note 2: An 'anchor point' exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club."
*Joe Goode, USGA managing director of communications, declined to comment on Fay's opinion. "As we have said throughout this process, we continue to confer internally and with The R&A in our work to reach a final resolution on the matter of proposed Rule 14-1b," he said in an e-mail. "Until such time we make an official announcement, it would be premature to comment further."
Fay went on to indicate in the Golf Channel interview that the original decision on long putters he supervised in the late 1980s might not have been fully thought out because it focused on the length of the club and not the stroke. "Maybe we blew it," he said.
He went on to say that the opposition to the proposed ban from the PGA Tour and PGA of America could be problematic in the future. "I worry that maybe the R&A and USGA have expended a little bit too much goodwill capital with the other organizations that they're going to have to work with going forward to possibly address some bigger issues," he said.