FLORIDA (AFP) – The US PGA Tour said Monday it would adopt a ban on the use of anchored putters, which players have controversially used to win four of the last seven major championships.
The Tour s policy board passed a resolution making anchored putters illegal beginning in 2016.
Explaining the decision to go ahead with the ban, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: “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.
“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 PGA Tour initially opposed the ban, raising the specter of a damaging division in golf with different rules being applied on different continents.
The putters have been in the spotlight since being used by a clutch of players to win major championships, including Adam Scott, who used a broom-handle putter to win the Masters in April.
The putting stroke involves fixing the handle of the putter to a point on the body — usually the stomach or chest.
Anchored putting at top tournaments dates back to the 1980s when 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 at Augusta National.