Earlier today, the PGA Tour policy board accepted the ruling of the USGA that anchored putters will be banned in Tour competitions effective January 1, 2016. The controversial rule, known forevermore as 14-1b, has become the subject of much heated debate lately. The policy board also made a recommendation that the USGA, in conjunction with the PGA of American, extend the deadline for amateurs beyond 2016. This is not uncommon, as the same thing happened with groove configurations on clubs back in 2008.
Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner made a brief statement after the ruling had been made. “In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA TOUR,” Finchem. “The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion.”
It was only a matter of time until this happened. While I don’t necessarily agree with the rule, I do commend the ruling bodies of the game for giving the players a reasonable amount of time to make the requisite adjustments to their game. In my opinion, this ruling is essentially telling people that even though they have risen to the top of their field by employing a particular method ply their trade, they are now expected to change that while still remaining relevant. I firmly believe that there will be some golfers that will never be quite the same after changing their putting stroke, but there has to be some time frame given when implementing this type of change.
I have a sneaking suspicion that we will hear a bit more on this situation before we hit the beginning of 2016.