Tours awaiting word on putter ban
European Tour chief George O’Grady Sunday said he was awaiting word from golf’s rules-making bodies about a possible ban on long putters, following fierce debate among players.
O’Grady, seated alongside US PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem at a press conference during the WGC-HSBC Champions in southern China, confirmed the controversial move was under discussion.
“There’s certainly plenty of discussion. We’re waiting for notification from the rules-making bodies,” said O’Grady.
“I think they work to their own timetable but the rules of golf are reviewed every four years, so it would have to be considered taking place at the beginning of 2016.
“We haven’t been formally informed by the R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club) or the USGA (United States Golf Association), but they have been talking.”
The possible ban on the broomstick or belly putters, which can be held against the body to aid stability, has caused an outcry among players who have used them throughout their careers.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes to protect myself and the guys on tour, whatever that is,” America’s Keegan Bradley warned in China this week.
Last year, Bradley became the first player to win a Major with a long putter at the PGA Championship. He was swiftly followed by Webb Simpson at this year’s US Open, and Ernie Els at the British Open.
Australia’s Adam Scott, who used a chest-high broomstick putter as he narrowly failed to win his first Major at the British Open, wondered if golfing authorities would be able to ban the devices.
“I’d be surprised if they could completely outlaw anchoring putting. But you know, you’d have to deal with that if it were to be brought in,” said the world number six.