Every golfer that has ever picked up a club is familiar with the phrase "drive for show, putt for dough." Hell, this last weekend I was muttering to myself as I three putted an Eagle attempt. While putting can undo a great ball-striking round for amateurs and pros alike, a pro's career literally lives and dies on, or around, the putting green. Unless, of course, they've recently overhauled their entire swing for no reason or their name is David Duval. Point is: If a pro can't putt, he can't win. It's why Adam Scott and Ernie Els changed to an anchored putter and it's why Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood -- arguably two of the best ball-strikers in professional golf -- haven't won a major. Putting is goddamn everything. And now the rules makers want to "level" the playing field.
According to the Guardian:
Strong speculation in golf circles in Dubai over the weekend suggested the decision has finally been made to prohibit players from using the controversial putting tools, after months of talks between the ruling bodies on either side of the Atlantic. The authorities have focussed their efforts on the "anchoring" of the putter to parts of the body, rather than simply club length, as the potential means of outlawing long putters.
All that remains to be seen is the timescale set for the ban, and whether both amateur and professional players are offered a phase-out period before the putters can no longer be used. If golf's major tours swiftly adopt the ruling, professionals could be stopped from playing with long putters from the start of 2013. The date widely reported for amateur outlawing of the club is 2016.
When asked about the issue in July, the R&A's chief executive, Peter Dawson, said: "Anchoring is what we're looking at – method of stroke – and it's all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest.
"It has dramatically increased and we're also seeing now people who can putt perfectly well in the conventional way thinking that an anchored stroke gives them an advantage. I think that's the fundamental change that we've witnessed in the last couple of years."The objections I find from those at elite level are, 'If people have become failed putters in the conventional way, why should they have a crutch to come back and compete against me when I haven't failed in the conventional way?'"
I'm personally not a fan of looking at anchored putters on the PGA Tour, but I don't necessarily agree with this ruling. How can you take these putters away, basically punishing all the pros that use them, while still allowing people to use putters with different weights, shapes, and grip thickness (K.J. Choi's putter grip is fucking cinder block)? Are those not considered a "crutch" just because they aren't anchored? I use a similar grip to Choi and without I literally cannot putt outside of 20ft. It most certainly IS a crutch and at this point I can't fathom going back to a regular grip. And now the R&A and USGA want all these pros to just drop their current putter for a standard with no grace period in between? Should be interesting.