Ted Bishop responds to USGA decision not to give amateurs more time to adjust to anchoring rule
The PGA of America
Last month, PGA of America President Ted Bishop and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem spoke at the U.S. Golf Association's annual meeting, and proposed that the USGA implement a "grandfather" period to provide amateurs with more time to adapt to playing without an anchored stroke.
Word has come down that the request has been denied, and Rule 14-1b – which bans the use of the anchored putting stroke – will go into effect as expected on Jan. 1, 2016.
After receiving the news, Bishop sent a letter to his PGA of America membership, the body of which is included here:
"I am writing to inform you that the United States Golf Association (USGA) has decided not to extend the implementation date of Rule 14-1b (anchoring) for amateur golfers beyond Jan. 1, 2016. Last month at the USGA Annual Meeting in Pinehurst, N.C., PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and I outlined our proposal for a “grandfather” period.
"Both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have consistently shared strong feelings about this matter with the USGA and we appreciated the opportunity to formally present our views before the USGA’s full Executive Committee.
"While we are disappointed with the USGA’s decision not to extend the implementation date beyond Jan. 1, 2016, I know that all PGA Professionals are committed to helping amateur players choose a permissible putting stroke that will help them continue to enjoy the game well into the future.
"Indeed, PGA Professionals go to work every day knowing that we are the most respected instructors in the game. This is a new challenge and opportunity that we will embrace, and along with helping PGA TOUR players, we will assist golfers of all abilities in advance of the implementation date of Rule 14-1b.
"Finally, we believe that one of the profound outcomes that emerged from the discussion of “anchoring,” is that both the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR have a more meaningful seat at the Rules table for future decisions affecting the game. We strongly believe that such enhanced communication among our respected organizations is essential to the long-term viability of golf."
Bishop and Finchem were seeking to give recreational amateurs who anchor long putters more time to adapt to the new rule, believing that an extension would be beneficial to those golfers.
"The leadership at the PGA of America and the PGA Tour both believe that it would be reasonable to offer recreational golfers who anchor a longer period of time to convert to the approved method of making a stroke," Bishop wrote to PGA members back in January. "For example, when the 'Grooves Rule' was instituted in 2009, the USGA allowed a 15-year 'grandfather period' for amateurs to switch to conforming golf clubs.
"We believe our request for a 'grandfather period' can further assist you, the PGA Professional, in transitioning recreational golfers who do anchor, to the approved method," he added.
Bishop said the request wasn't intended to reignite the debate on anchoring, and that the PGA of America had accepted the USGA decision to invoke Rule 14-1b in 2016. His hope, he said, was that the USGA would simply give amateurs a longer period to make the transition.