It’s all go for January after the R&A and USGA published their finalised Rules of Golf. So what’s coming in? Steve Carroll outlines the changes.
R&A Will Not Rush ‘Particularly Sensitive’ Putter Decision
The Royal and Ancient announced they wouldn’t rush their ‘particularly sensitive’ decision on the proposed ban on the anchoring of long putters.
The proposed ban has garnered more controversy in the United States than elsewhere, partly as a result of the PGA Tour's unexpected intervention. But the R&A appeared to rule out the prospect of going alone with its ban insisting it would continue to work closely with the USGA to reach a joint outcome that applies throughout the world.
The R&A’s stance highlights the delicate nature of the decision. Concession from golf’s ruling body could make it impossible for them to rule with the same authority in the future. However proceeding without the blessing of the PGA Tour could lead to competitive chaos if pros play by one set of rules in regular PGA Tour events and another set of rules in certain major championships or alternating Ryder Cups run by organisations with opposing viewpoints.
An the R&A said ‘Anchoring has been a polarizing issue in our sport and despite having weighed the matter thoroughly before making the proposal, we believed it was important to give stakeholders in the game the opportunity to air their views,’
He added, ‘As we have throughout this process, we will work closely with the USGA in moving towards a final resolution.’
Other than Tim Finchem who communicated the PGA Tour’s stance plenty of high profile figures let their views be known during the 90-day consultation period that ended on Thursday. It has received support from the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy and 14-times major winner Tiger Woods but others such as British Open champion Ernie Els, who switched to a long putter in 2011, have voiced their opposition.