Tuesday, May 28

Is Anchoring Ban Really 'for the Good of the Game'?

By Matthew Wurzburger

Clinging to past?
CBS GOLF ANALYST NICK FALDO USED a lull in the action during Saturday’s coverage of the Crowne Plaza Invitational to offer his opinion of Rule 14-1b, the controversial new rule that prohibits anchoring the golf club. As was to be expected, Faldo wholeheartedly supports the recent R&A and USGA decision to nix the anchored putting stroke; he believes the rule will help golf to be played as intended by the game’s founders.

But do any of us play golf in the way it was intended to be played on the links of Scotland over five centuries ago?

Long ago golfers traded in primitive golf clubs featuring wooden heads and hickory and metal shafts for drivers and irons composed of lightweight, space-age materials. The changes do not stop with the composition of the clubs. Today’s golfers also use an entirely new and unique club: the hybrid. I certainly am not advocating for a return to old-fashioned clubs, but it certainly is interesting to imagine Old Tom Morris' reaction to being presented a Rocketballz driver.

The other question to consider is whether the governing bodies of golf need to cling so tightly to the past.

All Big Four sports leagues in North America—National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA)—have altered their games and sports. For example, the introduction of, at first, the shot clock and much later the three-point arc greatly increased the offensive excitement of basketball, and has made the NBA one of the most popular sports in the world.

Proponents of the anchored putting stroke claim it allows for more people to play and, more importantly, enjoy the game of golf. If that is true, why not allow the hackers and double-bogey golfers of the world to anchor if outlawing the technique will push them away from the game?

I believe the founders of golf could forgive the R&A and USGA for going against the founders' original intentions if it is for the betterment of the game.

Matthew Wurzburger is a University of Virginia student who covers sports for The Cavalier Daily.


BD said...

Why not allow the hackers and double bogey golfers of the world toss the ball with their hands rather than hit it with a club? Why not let them fire the ball toward the green with air rifle? Obviously, there are any number of ways to make the game easier for some category of players, but lines have to be drawn somewhere, don't they?

Oneputtforpar said...

The founders original intent was play the ball as it lies. Yet today we can mark our balls on the green and the stymie is a thing of the past.

I'm not an anchorer but the ban isn't right. They want a free flowing stroke, but it is ok to to anchor it to your forearm? How does that make any sense?

Just like when they changed the rule on grooves a couple years back, this is a reaction to the pro game with no concern for the rest of us. A few majors are won with a long putter and it is time to change the rules.