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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"It's just a bit of a mess,” said Rory McIlroy.

A very accurate quote by the world number one. The mess he is talking about is putter anchoring - the hottest topic in golf right now. Following the decision, a couple of months ago, by the USGA and R&A to ban anchoring the putter in 2016, every golfer on the planet seems to have an opinion. The governors of the rules strangely allowed a 90-day window to hear opinions from professional tours, amateur bodies and anyone who could type or write. It's almost as if they didn't have the strength of their own convictions and this hesitancy has opened a huge can of worms.

With only a few days to go before the 90-day window expired, the politically trained Commish, Tim Finchem came forward with the views of the PGA Tour. There has been much discussion on the pro tours amongst the players, including those guys like Tim Clark and Carl Petersson who have used anchored long putters for years. Some are opposed and some are for it, but is seems the majority are against the ban. Cue The Tim!

And when did The Commish choose to announce the defection - yes, that's right on the NBC telecast during the final of the Accenture World Matchplay. Oh, the sponsor must have been thrilled at that decision, but clearly Finchem was making a big statement and on live TV. He knew what he was doing and the coming days and weeks are tantamount to a stand off between the organizations. The governing bodies on one side, perhaps joined by The European Tour, Augusta National and on the other side The PGA Tour and the PGA Of America who are supporting the Commish. Could this really be the start of bifurcation? But not as anticipated - this would be bifurcation between tournaments!

So, potentially a player couldn't use an anchored putter in the Masters, then back to the Tour with a different anchored stroke, over to The Open Championship and no anchored stroke, onto the PGA Championship and anchoring again....if he couldn't putt well before, this will really get in his kitchen! Clearly, some kind of solution will emerge, but I don't see the Commish backing down any time soon, so this is the first real test of Mike Davis' leadership at the USGA. Watch this space!

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