Brandel Chamblee, as he is prone to do, caused a commotion on Twitter this weekend, decrying the enforcement of the anchoring bar in putting. During the US Senior Open, he tweeted:
'With regard to the anchoring ban on the PGA Tour Champions, it's appalling, I have never seen such gross disregard for the spirit of the game.'
He was obviously referring to not only Bernhard Langer, but also other PGA Tour Champions players that have slightly modified their old anchoring stroke to comply with the new rule in 2016.
If you have seen Bernhard Langer, instead of placing the end of his long putter against his sternum for his stroke, he pulls it slightly away after his practice stroke, before he hits his putt. His hand and the end of the putter are still touching his shirt, but you can see (barely) that the end of the putter is not touching or ‘anchored’ against his body. I watched Ian Woosnam do the same thing while I walked with his group during the first two rounds of the Senior PGA Championship in May.
Chamblee’s comments opened up others to question the enforcement of the anchoring rule. According to sources (other caddies and players) inside the tour, many are not happy with the lack of enforcement of the rule. Many feel Langer and the others using the broomstick putter with the slight adjustment to the position of their left hand are still not abiding by the spirit of the rule.
Let’s face it, when the USGA and R&A changed the rule, they were taking the path of least resistance to getting rid of the long, broomstick putters. Obviously, it would be easier to change the rule, rather than outlaw the club and have battles with equipment companies over the ban.
So maybe the uproar over this goes away until the next Senior major. Nobody on the PGA Tour uses the broomstick (at this time), so you are not getting week-in and week-out focus on it. It was only brought up because the PGA Tour Champions just had one of their majors. If this was the Mitsubishi Electric Classic, nobody would be talking.
My feeling is that the PGA Tour Champions will continue to apply the rule just as they have been since it’s inception. As long as they see daylight between the end of the broomstick and the players chest, they will allow it.
What really needs to happen is the USGA needs to revisit the wording and application of the rule. If it wants the long putter gone from the game…do it! It certainly hasn’t been proven to be the superior method of putting, otherwise, you would see everyone in the game putting with the broomstick design. I have long been an advocate of banning the long putter, and would have no problem if the USGA did so. However, they do need to provide more detailed language and clarity in 14-1b. All the change has done is move the bar, I mean the end of the long putter, a few inches.