Golf's governing bodies agree to prohibit anchoring of putters from 2016
Golf's governing bodies have agreed to prohibit the anchoring of putters from 2016.
Last Updated: 22/05/13 6:20am
The new Rule will take effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf.
Rule 14-1b, which was proposed on November 28, 2012, was given final approval by The R&A and the USGA following an extensive review by both governing bodies.
The decision to adopt the new Rule came after a comprehensive process in which comments and suggestions from across the golf community were collected and thoroughly considered.
The European Tour supported the proposal but the PGA Tour and PGA of America voiced strong opposition, raising the possibility of different rules being followed in different events.
R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said: "We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game.
"The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised.
"We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf."
USGA president Glen D. Nager said: "Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed Rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game - that the player freely swing the entire club.
"The new Rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf."
Anchored putters have been in the spotlight since being used by a clutch of players to win major championships recently, with the latest being Adam Scott, who used a broom-handle putter to win the Masters at Augusta in April.
Open champion Ernie Els and US Open champion Webb Simpson used a belly putter, as did Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship.
Two European players who used belly putters with varying degrees of success have backed the ban, with Colin Montgomerie saying: "I'm glad common sense has prevailed and anchor putters will be no more - it will be banned and rightly so. I wish it had come earlier to be honest.
"In 2004 I holed an important putt with an anchor putter (which secured Ryder Cup victory at Oakland Hills) and I must admit it was easier. I am in favour of the ban having used both methods."
Sergio Garcia added: "I used it for a little bit but never felt that comfortable. It's going to be a bit of a bother for some guys but I think they will figure out a way. I stand behind the decision of the R&A and USGA."