22 May 2013

Golf rule makers outlaw anchoring of putters

3:14 pm on 22 May 2013

Golf's governing bodies have announced that the anchoring of long putters to the body will be banned from 2016 in a move which will please traditionalists, but could lead to a split in the game among the professional ranks.

Golf's two controlling bodies, the Royal and Ancient and the United States Golf Association have arrived at their decision after lengthy deliberations, and while the European Tour has expressed its support for the idea, the US PGA Tour is opposed to it.

While anchoring will be banned from 2016, long putters can still be used as long as players freely swing the club away from their bodies.

Three of the last five major championship winners have used "belly" putters - the Americans Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, and South Africa's Ernie Els.

Many of the game's leading players, including world number one Tiger Woods and second-ranked Rory McIlroy, have backed the ban, along with the South African great Gary Player, although he says three years is too long to wait for the ban to be implemented.