Faxon suggests PGA Tour may oppose anchored putting ban
Along with being one of the best putters in the history of professional golf, Brad Faxon has also been one of the most articulate.
Over the weekend, in a column on Golf.com, Faxon wrote that the PGA Tour Policy Board (a 16-player committee) will meet with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem early this evening to make a serious decision -- will they accept the USGA and R&A's position on banning anchored putters; or will they oppose and propose that golf's governing bodies withdraw the ban?
If the Policy Board opposes, it will likely set the stage for that word we've all been hearing lately, "bifurcation," or, two sets of rules.
Faxon, a former Policy Board member, admits he'd like to see the ban come to fruition.
"Personally, I am in favor of the proposed ban," Faxon wrote. "I believe lodging the butt end of the putter in your naval, or holding it against your chest or chin, does not constitute a traditional golf swing and is not in the inherent nature of what we could call a 'swing.' Yes, there have been many changes in golf over the centuries, but the fundamental nature of how you hold the club and the unencumbered way you make a swing have been remarkably consistent ever since featheries and gutties were rolling down fairways in Scotland."
That said, Faxon believes there's a good chance the Policy Board will go against the proposed ban.
"The USGA and the R&A, the world's governing golf bodies, have an open comment period about the proposed rule change that concludes at the end of this month," Faxon explained. "If you're so inclined, try to influence the debate-send an email to the USGA, R&A or PGA Tour and let them know how you feel. That's why Tim is having his Tour Policy Board meeting on Monday. I believe he's going to try to persuade the board that the Tour should urge the USGA to withdraw the proposed ban."
While some argue that a ban isn't fair to players like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson who have used a belly putter for years, or Adam Scott and Ernie Els who have resurrected careers thanks to a long putter, well, Faxon has a strong case for why it might be fair.
"I believe if you took the greatest players who use anchored-putters (Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Vijay Singh, Bernhard Langer, to name a few), put them in a private room and got them to tell you what they really think, they'd say the same thing: it's not really golf as golf was meant to be played. But they would also say that since the USGA and the R&A didn't ban the stroke 25 years ago, it shouldn't ban it now. I'm sympathetic. However, if your goal is to make a proper decision, timing should be irrelevant. It's never too late to right a wrong."
It'll be interesting to hear what the Tour's response will be.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tj_auclair.
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