As the day is hopefully nearing when the USGA and R&A announce that anchoring the putter to your body is now illegal, the infernal practice continues to make the news.
Last Thursday Arnold Palmer reiterated his stance on anchoring on Morning Drive. “I am for taking it away,” said Palmer. “There is not a place for anchoring the putter against the body,” so “I would (ban it at all levels).”
Despite the King’s admonition, Ernie Els and Keegan Bradley vow to take action to protect their supposed right to employ a practice that Els not that long ago described as “cheating.” Recently, however, Els, did another Romney, saying that “This can become something they have to address again. With all the pressure from players and media maybe they can further consider the issue (of anchoring).”
Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley, everyone’s favorite pycho-golfer, continues to babble on about in defense of the game’s most reprehensible practice: “I’m going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on Tour. Everybody on Tour who uses an unconventional putter has a big say in this.” Protect them from what? Ruining the game at the pro-level as we’ve known it for over 100 years?
Bradley has cited the stat that there is only one player in the top 20 in Strokes Gained putting stat as a reason why anchoring is not such a big advantage. How convenient. If you extend it to the top 30, then at least four use it – and the number has been growing.
But that’s not the point – the point is that each players who anchor, including Bradley, who is ranked 28th, would be far further down the rankings if they could not anchor their putter. And, I maintain, when a player gets hot with an anchored putter, they tend to get even hotter than do players who do not anchor.
As for 14 year old Tianlang Guan’s win in this weekend’s Asia Pacific Amateur, I see his anchored putter aided “triumph” as one of the saddest days in golf history. After shooting a 64 in the second round to take a five shot lead, Guan said, “My feeling with the putter is fantastic, and that’s why I’ve got a low score.” That a youngster can putt so well that he can compete with, and beat, older, stronger, and more experienced players despite hitting 250 yard tee shots speaks volumes as to the potential benefit that a player is able to reap, in any given week, from anchoring.
Worst of all, Guan’s win earned him a berth in the 2013 “US Masters” as he calls it. And, amazingly, two Masters officials flew to Thailand to be a part of the post tournament ceremony! Yikes.
I would think that these tradition minded souls would be sick to their stomach at the thought that a belly putter wielding kid will have the attention of the golf world as he putts on the hallowed greens where The King largely made his reputation!