It seems a little dismissive to me for tour players to continue using the anchored putting stroke when a ban is coming.
Would people race through a dangerous intersection, endangering pedestrians, knowing a new stoplight was about to be erected just to get away with it one more time?
It took a while for the governing bodies to finally agree to ban anchored putting. They avoided the issue for so long that the common opinion was one of unfairness to people earning a living using a method they had used their whole life.
Some even predict a massive exodus away from the game in 2016 when the ban goes into effect. Perhaps that isn’t a bad thing. Maybe, green fee rates will come down as starting times become more readily available.
I wonder if Pine Valley or Augusta National will be forced to accept pay-as-you-play.
Originally written by the Gentlemen Golfers of Leith, the rules of golf have undergone a fascinating history equal in every way to a mystery novel, except you always know who done it.
The twists, the turns, the controversies and the dual sets (of rules)–one produced by the R&A and one by the upstart USGA and each contributing to today’s ledger of legislation found in the decisions book.
At least both groups are currently in agreement with the regulatory laws as written, but this hasn’t always been the case.
In fact, when the first rules of golf were written on March 7, 1744, The United States didn’t exist.
The United States Golf Association wasn’t founded until Dec 22, 1894 and controversy was unheard of pertaining to the rules because the game had been played in the same manner for 400 years and the ball was made of a leather sack stuffed with feathers like it had always been.
Clubs were handmade and so expensive that most players carried only a handful under their arm. Ahhhh, the simple life. All that was required was 13 rules and a little honour.
That is until the good Rev. and Dr, Robert Adams Patterson invented a gutta-percha ball in 1848 , just over 50 years ahead of the founding of the USGA.
Then a bunch of stuff happened until one day in 1898 when Coburn Haskell of Cleveland decided to wind rubber thread around a rubber core while playing with Bertram G. Work of the B.F. Goodrich Company. It wass then covered with balata.
Things changed so fast over the next 30 years, the R&A and the USGA not only couldn’t keep pace, they ricocheted all over the place trying to control design features with rules.
In 1920, they agreed on 1.62 inches of diameter and 1.62 ounces of weight. After 11 years of arguing, the USGA broke away allowing a 1.68-inch diameter and 1.55-ounce weight, resulting in a buoyant, ballooning sphere.
In 1932, after one year of howling by the public, the USGA settled on 1.68 inches and 1.62 ounces. Finally, a ball that worked properly!
Unfortunately, the R&A didn’t think so and the players from around the world except North America played with a different ball for the next 58 years when in 1990, both parties agreed to the American dimensions.
There have been other cases of the USGA and R&A going their different ways on the rules. Yet, when Sam Snead began using a croquet-style of putting, both parties banned it as of the beginning of 1968. Does this have a ring of anchoring?
Over the years, the two main governing bodies have proven to be defiant, uncompromising, arrogant and yet amiable.
The impending anchoring ban is the first time in which the USGA and R&A have actually discussed a plan to change the rules, implemented an agreed-upon comment period and then acted in concert.
Some wonder what the effect of the anchoring ban will be, but does anyone wonder why the British players couldn’t win the Ryder Cup with regularity prior to 1995? Could it be the agreement to play the same sized ball in 1990? Once the European players adapted, it seems the Americans couldn’t win again.
Not one time have people quit playing or not taken up the game because of a change to the rules or the controversy surrounding a change. They won’t this time either.
Given the recent love-fest between the R&A and the USGA, wouldn’t it be wonderful if these great powers could decide to make divots GUR or agree on a universal height for the flagstick with the bottom 18 inches painted black?
On the other hand perhaps everyone needs a rest from both associations for a while.