For the past few months every golfer in the world has heard something about the eventual decision to ban the anchoring a club during a stroke.
Considering there 50 to 60 million golfers worldwide, it is very likely that there are at least one million different opinions on the subject. Over the next few months we will undoubtedly hear some fascinating points of view and most of those will be self-serving.
We have already heard from those who think the future of the game is imperiled even though the percentage of people who will leave the game or fail to take it up if they can’t anchor their putter is zero.
Those who question the timing, the “why now?” group. have long ago made their point and in my opinion, the “there is no advantage to using it,” contingent actually look a little silly.
In time, we will hear of lawsuits from affected parties, possible solutions to accommodate certain parties, discussions on bifurcation and maybe some form of grandfathering. As I wrote about a year ago, hang onto your hat, it’s going to be a great ride.
This isn’t the first time the rules of golf have changed. They have evolved over time. Sometimes, the rulings were popular and sometimes not. After all, it’s only golf. It’s only fun and recreation.
Sure, I feel sorry for Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, but had the ban occurred 25 or 30 years ago, perhaps we would have not heard of them and the victories and millions they have earned would have gone to someone else.
Perhaps, they should be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon them.
However, in every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.
In my mind, the feel-good element is the fact that I am bound to a fraternity of over 50 million people who have one thing in common — their respect for the rules and traditions of a wonderful game.
I have played exactly 314 different courses in my life (don’t ask why, but yes, I did count them), approximately 7500 rounds with thousands of people and the only common denominator is their love for an outdoor activity played under a universal set of rules.
The only other common ground you can find that even comes close to that is in the world of music — the world’s form of communication.
What advances my appreciation more is the fact that the Rules of Golf are determined by a joint committee, consisting of those who volunteer their time, skills and expertise.
Glued to the Golf Channel on a Tuesday morning, I watched USGA president Glen Nager proclaim the position of the USGA and the R&A concerning rule 14-1b. He spoke honestly, articulately, eloquently and succinctly.
There is no doubt that he and his fellow presenters had been trained for the moment because they were brilliant. As I sat and watched, I wished our political leaders were golfers and they too were being affected by this masterful production.
Mr. Nager was so polished, so respectful, so thorough, so deliberate that the questions following his talk were negligible. There was no double talk, no ambiguity, no hidden agenda and, most certainly, nothing self-serving.
What I saw on made me proud to belong to the golf fraternity, people working without thought of personal gain, contributing thousands of hours of their time and acting without reproach.
These people are only trying to do their best to ensure that common thread, the Rules of Golf, continue to protect the traditions so anyone in the world can play anywhere in the world with anybody in the world and have exactly the same thing in common: love and respect for the game.