Well, as expected, the belly putter debate is heating up in the wake of the USGA’s announced plan to ban putter anchoring starting in 2016.
We’ve been on this story since long before the proposed ban, and essentially predicted the current state of affairs, which now seems inevitable in retrospect.
Now the two opposing camps are further making their case. The pro-ban camp, which includes Tiger Woods, is hopeful that the deal is essentially sealed. The opposition, however, is making an impassioned case for averting the ban. One of the best cases made comes from SeeMore Putter Company co-owner Jim Grundberg over at SeeMorePuttersBlog.com, who writes at length about the issue.
Here’s a quote from Jim summarizing his main points: “(1) The losers in this decision lose much more than the winners will gain. The issue us about protecting the rights of a minority group; (2) The ruling taints some great accomplishments by some great players, whether the decision makers believe so or not. Anchored now means cheating, or an unfair advantage, and this will apply looking forward and back; and (3) This is not a necessary decision at this time. Without any statistical evidence to support a ban for competitive reasons, the impact is too harsh vs. the gain.”
The lack of statistical evidence is a powerful argument, as is the question of how the ban would reflect upon those who recently won major tournaments with anchored belly putters.
That said, there’s probably some merit to this quote from the “Anonymous Pro” in Sports Illustrated’s recent PGA Tour Confidential installment: “I guarantee this rule will have a big impact. Keegan and Webb can say what they want, but every player using a belly or a long putter uses it for a reason. Some guys, when they pull their short putter out of the bag again, are going to feel as if they’re grabbing a cobra. I see sleepless nights ahead.”
Obviously, we haven’t heard the last of this. In fact, the waiting until 2016 instead of 2013 or 2014 is another mini-debate in itself. A lot can happen in three years, and it’s sounding like a lot will happen. Stay tuned!