In May, the USGA and R&A made a joint announcement that they had decided to proceed with their decision to adopt Rule 14-1b — banning the anchored putting stroke — effective as of January 1, 2016.
While the PGA Tour and Commissioner Tim Finchem have voiced their opposition to the rule and a group of players who use the stroke have lawyered up, the Tour Policy Board convened the week of the Memorial Tournament and all signs seemed to indicate they’d follow the decree of golf’s governing bodies. After all, how confusing would it be to have two sets of rules and it’d be the PGA Tour saying they were above the game of golf, etc.
On Monday, the Tour announced the Tour Policy Board met this morning and voted to conform with the USGA and R&A’s rule. Here’s the press release:
PGA TOUR Policy Board Allows USGA’s Ban on Anchored Strokes
Rule 14-1b will go into effect in PGA TOUR competition beginning January 1, 2016
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL (July 1, 2013) – The PGA TOUR Policy Board today acknowledged that the USGA’s ban on anchored strokes, known as Rule 14-1b, will apply to PGA TOUR competitions beginning on January 1, 2016. In making this acknowledgement, the Policy Board also passed a resolution strongly recommending, along with the PGA of America, that the USGA consider extending the time period in which amateurs would be permitted to utilize anchored strokes beyond January 1, 2016.
PGA TOUR competitions are conducted in accordance with the USGA Rules of Golf. However, the Policy Board reserves the right to make modifications for PGA TOUR competitions if it deems it appropriate.
“In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA TOUR,” PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion.”
The USGA and R&A jointly announced the proposed ban on anchored strokes in November 2012; then, following a “comment period,” the governing bodies announced on May 21, 2013 that the ban would go into effect on January 1, 2016.
With respect to golf at the recreational level, the Policy Board noted that the USGA followed a similar course with respect to groove configurations on golf clubs in 2008 where the new groove configurations rule became applicable for elite play in 2010, while the rule does not apply to recreational play until 2024.
“The Policy Board continues to believe that extending the time period the ban would go into effect for amateurs would be beneficial for golf participation and the overall health of the game,” Finchem added.
“Although the Board has elected to follow the USGA in this case at the elite level, it continues to be mindful of its responsibility to review future rule changes that might be adopted by the USGA in order to determine whether they should apply to PGA TOUR competitions,” Finchem said. “It is not inconceivable that there may come a time in the future when the Policy Board determines that a rule adopted by the USGA, including in the area of equipment, may not be in the best interests of the PGA TOUR and that a local rule eliminating or modifying such a USGA rule may be appropriate.
“Having said that, we have been assured by the USGA that as we move forward we will have an open and effective communication process on a number of levels with the decision makers at the USGA,” Finchem added. “Importantly, this will include a direct communication between the Commissioner’s Office of the PGA TOUR and the USGA Executive Committee. Such a process will ensure that our position is fully and carefully considered and addressed in future rule making.”