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Will Support for Anchored Putter Ban Escalate with Scott's Masters Win?
When Adam Scott birdied the second sudden-death playoff hole to edge Angel Cabrera and become the first Aussie to win the Masters, he also became the fourth champion of the last six majors to us an anchored putter.
Scott joined Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship, Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (2012 Open Championship) as other major winners using a long putter, giving the club a "career Grand Slam."
The victories - especially Els' - might have been the impetus for golf's ruling bodies, the USGA and R&A, to announce last November that it proposed to ban any club that's anchored to the body. The organizations instituted a 90-day comment period, which ended in February, and said they planned to issue a ruling sometime this spring. The actual ban wouldn't be written into the Rules of Golf until January 1, 2016.
Scott, wearing his new green jacket, answered a question about the proposed ban Sunday evening: "I don't know what it's going to do. We are all waiting to hear what's going to happen," said the 32-year-old, who's used the putter since 2011 on a coach's suggestion. "I don't know that this is going to impact any decisions at all.
"You know my feeling on it all; that it was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment, because you know, these are the best players in the world and they practice thousands of hours. They are going to get good with whatever they are using. It's inevitable."
Earlier in Masters week, Scott remarked, "I believe they are making a mistake and that's been well documented. But, hey, they are going to do what they are going to do, I guess, and we'll see how the other powers-that-be respond."
Scott also said, ""There just seems to be no logic to the whole issue and golf's ruling bodies are going about this whole issue on a whim. There are no arguments for the banning of any anchoring based on any facts and this is being undertaken just on the opinions of those running golf around the world. There also seems to be a lot of arrogance on the part of those managing this issue and it's as though they are acting as gods and not governing."
Cabrera didn't think that Scott or any other touring pros have an advantage with the clubs. "No, I don't think there is any advantage. If it really is an advantage, why don't everybody play it?"
In late October, Bradley expressed concern that his victory in the PGA - he was the first player ever to win a Grand Slam event with an anchored putter - would be tainted by his, and others', use of an "illegal" club. "I look at it as a whole, as us all together. I don't look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we've done what we've done is unbelievable."
Added Bradley: "I know players are very passionate obviously about this decision. You've got some guys that are going to be using this style of putter for almost 20 years, so that's a little bit of a scary position that they're in. I'm going to obviously obey the rules and respect what the USGA does. I'm not going to cause a big problem or anything like that. This is going to be a whole new chapter of putting, and people are going to come up with new ways, and we're going to have to wait and see if they do ban it."
Simpson began practicing with a regular putter late last year in preparation for a rules change. But that doesn't mean he agrees with the decision. "I'm friends with a lot of the R&A and the USGA guys and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game," Simpson said. "But I don't think it's a good decision.
"If you look at the stats, last year there was no one in the top 20 of the 'strokes gained' category who anchored a putter," the North Carolinian added. "So you have to throw out the argument of 'it's an advantage' right there. There's a bunch of arguments going around but I haven't heard a good one yet."