“This just doesn’t feel like the right time to be having this conversation. I think it’s very unfortunate that we’re spending time not focusing on other things, like growing the game, and this has nothing to do with growing the game.”
Unless something changes, everybody — tour pros like Bradley, and amateurs who play in competitions ranging from club championships to state and national tournaments — who anchors a putter has more than two years to find another way.
Don’t expect Joel Simpson to change. Golf is serving an important purpose as he continues his ordeal against pancreatic cancer. Doctors have suggested he remain active, so he’s playing golf, up to six times per week. An anchored stroke adds to Simpson’s enjoyment, so with apologies to the new rule, he’ll politely refuse to abide.
“It’s a cruel enough game without having to three-putt from 15 feet all the time because your hands are shaking. When you make a few putts, you have a lot more fun,” said Simpson, who suggests bifurcation, which would create two sets of rules, for professionals playing at the highest level, and everybody else.
“The honest reality for me is that the ban will probably outlive me. But I’m convinced that I’m going to [anchor] for the rest of my life, however long that is.
“I think for the recreational golfer, it should be a fun game. Golf has always been a stickler for the rules, but I’m going to keep using it.”
Big name golfers who could be affected
Four of the past six major champions used an anchored putter. A look at some notable players who will be affected by the proposed anchor ban (* with anchored putter; x — Champions Tour):
|Keegan Bradley||3/2011 PGA||First to win a major with anchored putter, which really ignited the great debate|
|Webb Simpson||3/2012 US Open||First player since 1976 to win US Open in second start|
|Ernie Els||1/2012 British||Last year on anchored putter: “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.’’|
|Adam Scott||3/2013 Masters||Four years ago, pre-anchored putter, missed nine cuts, including three of four majors|
|Carl Pettersson||5/none||Has used anchored putter for 16 years, which includes his entire PGA Tour career|
|x-Bernhard Langer||18/2||Resurrected career with anchored putter in 1996; most prolific winner on Champions Tour|
|Guan Tianlang||None||At 14, he’s the youngest to make a cut in a major (2013 Masters)|