MIAMI | Tim Clark, one of the central figures in the debate of the proposed ban on anchored putting, finally spoke out Wednesday night on the eve of the WGC-Cadillac Championship, offering his feelings now that the designated 90-day comment period offered by the USGA and the R&A has expired.
“The fact is that there’s no evidence, nothing out there, the stats don’t show that this a better form of putting,” Clark told a small group of reporters at Doral. “It’s a subjective decision … It’s a scary place to put yourself in when rules are being made and data and statistics aren’t considered.”
Clark traveled to San Diego in late January to attend a players meeting though he wasn’t playing in the tournament at Torrey Pines. USGA executive director Mike Davis spoke about the proposed rules change and took questions, including several from Clark, who said he prepared carefully in advance of the meeting, understanding his potential impact. He has used a long putter since he was in college at N.C. State in the 1990s.
“Essentially what I wanted was to get in there was discuss the facts and the basis of the rule change and (ask), ‘Why now?’ ” Clark said. “The more we started to look into it as players, the more unjust and unfair we saw this whole thing. The more we saw it as purely a decision based on no facts, just a perception of what they feel the golf stroke should be. I was very prepared. I wanted to get those points across.”
Adam Scott, who also uses a long putter, sat in with Clark as he discussed the issue with four reporters. Scott was in China when he heard of the rules proposal and said he asked an R&A official about the decision.
“They couldn’t answer that one question that Tim wanted answered as well – why are you doing this? There isn’t any compelling evidence, I would say, to do it,” Scott said. “I can’t believe we’re making rules based on subjective opinions and not based on any evidence at all.
“Now we’re making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? Incredible.”
Recently, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem expressed the tour’s position against the proposed ban. It remains up to the USGA and the R&A as to whether the ban will be enacted. Clark feels he made a strong case against the ban.
“We are quite optimistic,” Clark said. “You can’t say, ‘Hey, this is going to help golf.’ Any time you ask that question, there’s no answer for that. It’s not going to help golf. It’s going to chase people away from golf.
“It’s not just about us pros. There are thousands of amateurs out there who are using this who are probably going to get fed up and quit the game. We don’t see how that’s in the best interest of the game of golf and obviously Tim Finchem sees it the same way.”