MARTIN Laird, one of four Scottish golfers ranked in the world’s top 100, has admitted he is going to have to cut some length off his putter to ensure he’s not accused of anchoring when that is banned by golf’s rulesmakers.
In a joint announcement yesterday, the R&A and the USGA revealed a proposal to alter the rules of golf to outlaw the anchoring of a club against a player’s body. The change will come into force on 1 January 2016 if it is rubber-stamped after a three-month window for observations.
Laird has used a long putter to establish himself amongst the world’s elite, winning twice on the PGA Tour in recent years, but unlike Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els, three of the last five major winners, he insisted the club has never been anchored to his body.
Responding to yesterday’s announcement, Laird told The Scotsman: “There has been a lot of ‘will they, won’t they’ chat for the last few months so at least now we know where the R&A and USGA stand on the issue.
“To be honest, I will not really be affected by the rule change at all as I don’t really anchor my putter. It touches my shirt, but is not pushed into my stomach, or anchored.
“So, for me, I will probably just have to cut another inch or so off my putter to make sure there are no issues and then I will be fine. I use the belly length of putter for the weight and balance of it more than anything else.”
Former USPGA champion Bradley had said he was prepared to look into taking legal action against such a decision but has now said he will have to “adjust appropriately”.
While heartened by that news, Dawson insisted the R&A and USGA would be prepared to go to court themselves. He said: “We believe the governing bodies have the authority and we would defend it right up the legal system.”