The leading story over the last week in golf was the joint announcement of the USGA and The R&A banning the use of an anchored putting stroke.
The poster boy for this decision has become Keegan Bradley. Bradley was the first person to win a major when he won the 2011 PGA Championship wielding his belly putter.
This week at Tiger Woods’ World Golf Challenge spectators heckled Bradley and called him a cheater.
This is the can of worms that the USGA and The R&A have opened. Will an asterisk need to be inserted beside Bradley’s PGA Championship, Webb Simpson’s U.S. Open and Ernie Els’ Open Championship?
Because of the fan reaction last weekend in Los Angeles the USGA felt it necessary to issue the following statement.
“This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior. As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the Rules of Golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary. Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a Rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the Rules of Golf.”
“We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator. Instead, Keegan and other PGA Tour professionals should be commended for their maturity and grace in managing through a proposed change to the Rules of Golf.”
“While we understand that the proposed Rules change would cause some short-term angst, we believe the new Rule would serve the long-term best interest of the game.”
The USGA and The R&A have taken a very bold stance with the anchored stroke rule change. They are currently entertaining comments during a 90-day period. The rule is to become official effective January 1, 2016.