Putter ban on the horizon

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Belly putters: The end of the line?

Belly putters: The end of the line?

The R&A and USGA have released a joint statement proposing a rule change to prohibit the use of anchoring putters to the body.

The R&A and USGA have released a joint statement proposing a rule change that would prohibit the use of anchoring putters to the body.

The use of long - or 'belly' - putters has been a topic of contention for some time now, especially as recent major winners Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els all make use of the putter.

It is the opinion of many players and officials that the long putters allow for anchoring and as such contravene the laws of the game.

"The proposed Rule 14-1b, which follows an extensive review by the R&A and the USGA, would prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player's body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club," the ruling bodies said in a statement.

"The proposed new rule would not alter current equipment rules and would allow the continued use of all conforming golf clubs, including belly-length and long putters, provided such clubs are not anchored during a stroke.

"The proposed rule narrowly targets only a few types of strokes, while preserving a golfer's ability to play a wide variety of strokes in his or her individual style."

"The majority of golfers will understand why we have done this. There will be some players whose careers have become dependent on the anchored putting stroke. They do have three years to find another method if the rule change is confirmed," added R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

Any new rule can only come into effect on January 1, 2016, in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf.



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