World No. 1 Rory McIlroy was among those welcoming a proposed ban on “anchored” putting, announced on Wednesday by golf’s global governing bodies.
“Fully agree with the anchoring ban,” the Northern Ireland golfer said on Twitter after the Royal & Ancient (R&A) and the US Golf Association (USGA) jointly announced they proposed to ban golfers from anchoring putters to their bodies to create a pendulum-type stroke from 2016.
“Better image for the game of golf, skill and nerves are all part of the game. Level playing field in ’16,” McIlroy tweeted.
McIlroy’s comments echoed those that 14-time major champion Tiger Woods has made all year — that an anchored putter does not produce a true golf stroke and can ameliorate the effect of nerves which should be part of the competition.
“I don’t know if there’s any statistical data on it … about whether or not anchoring the putter does help on a certain range of putts, especially the guys who have gotten the twitches a little bit,” Woods said this week as he prepared to host the invitational World Challenge.
“One of the things that I was concerned about going forward is the kids who get started in the game and starting to putt with an anchoring system. There have been some guys who have had success out here and obviously everyone always copies what we do out here, and that’s something that I think for the greater good of the game needs to be adjusted,” Woods said.
The R&A and the USGA said that prior to taking a final decision on the proposed rule change they would “consider any further comments and suggestions from throughout the golf community.”
Last year Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major with a putter anchored on his midriff at the PGA Championship. He was followed by Webb Simpson at this year’s US Open, as well as Ernie Els — a former critic of the technique — at The Open.
China’s 14-year-old Guan Tianlang recently claimed a Masters berth by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur using an anchored putter.