Golf: Belly putter ban proposal splits tours

GOLF’S two main Tours are on opposite sides of the fence over the proposed anchoring ban after the European Tour announced its support of the game’s rulemakers in their bid to take action against long and belly putters.

Just over a week after PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem revealed his members were against the proposal by the R&A and USGA to stamp out anchoring from the start of 2016, his European Tour counterpart George O’Grady has given it the thumbs up.

“The European Tour has been fully involved in the consultation process which ended on 28 February and deeply value this involvement,” said O’Grady, chief executive of the Wentworth-based circuit. “Our members support the unique role played by the governing bodies in formulating the Rules of Golf.

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“Additionally, virtually all of our tournament committee and player representatives support the proposed rule, even though they are aware of the fact that some members, and especially our senior members, use the anchored method.”

O’Grady acknowledged that the proposed ban had caused most consternation in the United States, where the PGA of America has claimed it will inhibit the growth of the game.

“We understand the points put forward by the PGA Tour and the PGA of America and respect and sympathise with their views,” added the Irishman.

“The whole issue has received far greater focus and comment in the United States than in the rest of the world, perhaps because of the numbers of their golfers using the anchored method.”

Following the conclusion of a 90-day consultation period, the R&A and USGA issued statements acknowledging they had received a “number of considered responses” and have vowed to work closely together in “moving towards a final resolution”.