The PGA Tour opposes the proposed "belly putter" ban

Feb. 25, 2013 at 10:46 AM  |  Updated Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:48 AM   |   Comments

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Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Professional Golfers Association Tour (PGA) announced Monday it is opposing the ban of anchored putting also known as "belly putting."

The announcement came after Royal & Ancient (R & A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) communicated they wanted to ban the assisted putting technique from the sport, CNN reported.

"Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball," USGA executive director Mike Davis said in a joint statement issued with the R&A.

"Our conclusion is that the Rules of Golf should be amended to preserve the traditional character of the golf swing by eliminating the growing practice of anchoring the club."

Fourteen-time major-tournament winner, Tiger Woods, supports the proposed amendment.

"I believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves," he said. "Having it as a fixed point is something that's not in the traditions of the game. We swing all the other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same."

The PGA, however, disagrees with the suggested ban, and argues there is no evidence the "belly putter" technique offers a "competitive advantage" over traditional putting methods.

"Essentially where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour," the circuit's commissioner Tim Finchem said in a press conference at the World Golf Championship event at Dove Mountain.

Finchem failed to disclose if the PGA would rally against the R & A and the USGA if the ban is imposed, CNN noted. After all, the R&A is the rule-making authority in the world of golf.

"Our regulations provide that we will follow the rules as promulgated by the USGA provided, however, we retain the right not to in certain instances if we see fit," he said.

According to CNN, three of the last five major tournaments have been won by golfers who use the anchoring technique. The "belly putters" were, Keegan Bradley at the 2012 U.S.PGA Championship, Webb Simpson at this year's U.S. Open and South African Ernie Els at the 2012 British Open.

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