Anchored putters to sink from 2016

Wentworth - Golf's ruling bodies announced on Tuesday that anchored putters will be banned from the start of 2016.

The putters have been in the spotlight since being used by a clutch of players to win major championships recently, with the latest being Adam Scott, who used a broom-handle putter to win the Masters at Augusta in April.

The ruling bodies which took the decision under Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf were the St Andrews-based Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Last November, the two bodies proposed banning such putting strokes, which involve fixing the handle of the putter to a point on the body - usually the stomach or chest - from January 1, 2016.

But they allowed a three-month period for comments to be made and there was strong opposition from the US PGA Tour, the PGA of America, as well as some players.

That raised the spectre of a damaging division in golf with different rules being applied on different continents.

Explaining the decision to go ahead with the ban, the Chief Executive of The R&A, Peter Dawson, said: "We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game.

"The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised.

"We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf."

Anchored putting at top tournaments dates back to the 1980s when such as Bernhard Langer adopted it to combat his problems on the greens, but it has become more prevalent in recent years.

Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major with a long putter at the 2011 PGA Championship and he was followed by Webb Simpson at the US Open and Ernie Els at the British Open last year.

Scott then completed the set of major wins for long putters by winning the Masters at Augusta National in April.

World No 1 Tiger Woods has been among those who have been vocal in support for the ban saying on Monday that it should be applied "as soon as possible."

- AFP

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