Would any of you miss Tim Clark if he dropped off the tour after the ban takes effect, or even before?
I sure wouldn’t. In fact, I have now put him just ahead of Keegan Bradley on the top of my list of golfers we never need to see again.
Clark, as you probably know, is the leading spokesman against the USGA’s ban on anchoring. Why, he flew to Torrey Pines in January, not to play in the event, but only to make his voice heard at a secret meeting of PGA Tour players. After a period of silence, Clark opened up again in defense of anchoring in Doug Ferguson’s story for the AP.
“What we have here is a different method of putting. It’s not wrong. It’s not against the values of the game. It’s still a stroke. People who come out and say, ‘It’s not a stroke, you don’t get nervous,’ I can’t believe that. I’ve been using it for 15 years. I get nervous. I miss putts under pressure. Putting essentially will always come down to 99 percent brain and mindset and confidence.”
He may get nervous, but he still managed to make 87% of his putts from 3-5 feet last year, 91st among the more than 200 ranked players in 2012. Besides, there is a long list of champions who feel that anchoring does take the nerves out of the stroke.
Clark also asks “How can anything be an advantage that everyone can use and everyone can try?” The short answer: It gives those who can’t putt a way to make up for their deficiency, one that the non-anchorer’s don’t need, and would not likely benefit from. Using Clark’s logic, maybe putting with a pool cue should also be legal.
His biggest argument is that it has been around for 40 years. Maybe so, but almost no one was using it on the PGA Tour until three years ago, so it was ignored, a non-problem. Then Bradley, Els, and Simpson shined the light on this tradition wrecking practice, and the USGA and other leaders soon realized that this novel approach to putting threatened the integrity of something so fundamental as the golf stroke.
As for Clark, who cares what this 37 year old journeyman thinks? He has failed to finish in the top 10 in a major since the 2006 Masters so his opinion should carry no weight. Indeed, the players we should be listening to are those who are making history, including Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods – who are all for the ban.