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Anchoring Ban Will Take Effect

It’s official. Rule 14-1b, which prohibits anchored putting strokes, will be included in the Rules of Golf effective Jan. 1, 2016. Under the new rule, players will not be allowed to putt using a fixed point with the end of the putter – such as resting the putter next to the stomach in the belly putter method or resting the top hand against the chest or sternum with a long putter. The USGA and R&A jointly announced the rule change May 21 and both governing bodies take the stance that Rule 14-1b is not an equipment rule but a playing rule. The rules makers insist that this rule is about the essential part of the game – defining a stroke. They believe that all clubs – especially putters – must be swung freely without attaching the club to a fixed point on the body. “Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “The new rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf.” Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said: “We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game. The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised. We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf.” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem came out against the new rule during the 90-day comment period that ended Feb. 28.


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