As expected, the USGA and R&A announced Wednesday that anchored strokes will no longer be allowed in golf effective Jan. 1, 2016.
The 20-word rule change means the end of anchoring belly putters and long putters to the body in the way PGA Tour players Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and others have done.
The rule does not outlaw the use of long putters, only prohibits how they are used.
“We believe a player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said.
The rules change came as a result of what Davis called a growing “advocacy” among players and instructors for the use of anchored putting strokes. Through 2010, Davis said approximately six percent of PGA Tour players used anchored putting strokes. That percentage jumped to 15 percent in 2012.
“For years, it was seen as a last resort,” Davis said. “We are seeing that golfers no longer see it as a stroke of last resort.”
Simpson, who won the U.S. Open using a belly putter last June, said this week that he plans to make the switch to a traditional putter in the future. He said expected the rules change and has been using a regular-length putter when he’s playing with his friends at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
As expected, the USGA and R&A announced Wednesday that anchored strokes will no longer be allowed in golf effective Jan. 1, 2016.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The hints and rumors have been out there for a while that the days of Webb Simpson sticking the grip end of a putter into his navel or Adam Scott resting one end of his broomstick putter against his sternum are coming to an end.
The teleconference is expected to make it quasi-official. It will become officially official next year when both of golf's ruling parties hold their official meetings and then the ban will go into effect in 2016.
It seems unlikely there would be a global teleconference to announce the rules aren't changing.
Rules changes in golf -- like presidential elections -- happen only every four years. Golf doesn't like to rush into things, though it has fast-tracked the expected anchoring ban since officials said a year ago they didn't see it as a big problem.
Then Keegan Bradley and Simpson and Ernie Els won majors using their particular versions of anchored putters. Els has longed believed anchored putting should be banned but made the switch himself, saying half-jokingly that he would continue to cheat as long as it was allowed.
When approximately 30 percent of the players in the Open Championship last summer were anchoring putters, the old guard went into action even before 14-year old Guan Tianlang won the Asia-Pacific Amateur and a spot in the Masters using a belly putter.
Too bad they didn't do something about the golf ball and/or modern drivers, which have done more damage to the game than anchored putting might ever do. Instead, they are "modernizing" the Old Course, a shiver-inducing thought that more aggressive action against technology could have prevented.
If a ban on anchoring is enacted, there will come threats of lawsuits. However, if reports are accurate, belly putters and long putters are not being outlawed in golf. They can be used but they may not be anchored against the body.
A ban would not put an asterisk beside the majors won by Simpson and others. They won playing by the rules just as Bobby Jones won some of his major championships using clubs that were later deemed illegal.
Putting is a dark science which explains the curious implements and methods used by golfers tortured by the act of rolling a ball into a hole. It has driven men mad and will continue to do so.
I've always believed if you could putt with a push broom then do it. But I also think putting should require a stroke similar to what a full shot does. Anchoring a putter is a way to eliminate unwanted movement -- the kind nerves cause, particularly under pressure.
Defenders of anchored putting point out that no player in the top 10 in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour uses an anchored putter, arguing that if it's so great, everyone would do it. It's a fair point. It's not for everyone.
But there has been a sense that young players are learning the game with anchored putters, Tianlang's milestone victory being a dramatic example. Within a generation, the fundamentals of putting could change.
With a ban on anchoring coming, that won't happen.
Now, if they could just do something to eliminate the 200-yard 7-iron.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Of all the many gifts Rory McIlroy possesses, style may be his most endearing.
The walk, the smile, the swing.
And the way he can finish a golf tournament.
McIlroy ended his 2012 season Sunday in Dubai with five straight birdies to win the Dubai World Championship, capping a season that included five victories including the PGA Championship and the money title on both the European and PGA Tours.
When he holed his final birdie putt Sunday, McIlroy stood in the sunshine with his arms spread, soaking in the moment. He earned it and he has a way of pulling us in to him.
McIlroy is the new face of golf. He's the best player in the world and there's no reason to think he won't remain there for a long time to come. The Masters is five months away and he'll be the player to beat when the azaleas bloom again.
In 2012, McIlroy made the leap that the great ones make and he did it with style.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
The Wells Fargo Championship has announced it donated $1.3 million to area charities this year, bringing its cumulative total to $14.8 million donated since the tournament's inception in 2003.
Charlotte's Teach For America chapter received $600,000 from Champions For Education, the non-profit organization that manages and operates the Wells Fargo Championship.
Other donations were made to Levine's Children's Hospital, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg YMCA, The First Tee of Charlotte and other organizations that provided support to the tournament.
"The positive impact we are able to make in Charlotte and around the region is a direct result of the efforts of people who are willing to share their time and energy," Kym Hougham, executive director of the Wells Fargo Championship, said in a statement.
"With the support of Wells Fargo, our corporate partners, volunteers and loyal fans, we are humbled by the positive impact we can have on Charlotte-area organizations and nonprofits."
Monday, November 12, 2012
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
It was 13 years ago today, Oct. 25, 1999, that Payne Stewart died.
It's still a sad thought.
That June we saw Stewart win the U.S. Open in the misty gloom at Pinehurst, punching his fist into the air after making his par putt on the 18th green then framing Phil Mickelson's face in his hands and telling him how great it was Mickelson was about to become a father for the first time.
That September, we saw Stewart spraying champagne on balcony of the clubhouse at The Country Club after the American team's dramatic rally to win the Ryder Cup. His teammates tell stories of him playing the piano and partying in his red, white and blue pajamas deep into that evening.
And then Stewart was gone.
He would have been a Ryder Cup captain one year, perhaps this year, and maybe the European rally wouldn't have happened like it did at Medinah. If it had, Stewart would have still reveled in what the Ryder Cup represented.
They built a statue honoring Stewart and it sits behind the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, reminding us of the man and the moment.
Neither will soon be forgotten.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Diamond Creek Golf Club, which sits just outside Banner Elk amid a cluster of top-shelf private golf clubs, has been sold.
Houston businessman Dan Friedkin, a club member, announced Thursday he has purchased the club from Florida businessman H. Wayne Huizenga, who founded the club in 2003 with golf professional John McNeely.
Diamond Creek, part of a private, gated community, was designed by Tom Fazio and is popular with Charlotte area golfers.
"We are thrilled to announce the purchase and I am grateful to Wayne for founding this exceptional club and laying a robust foundation for its growth. As stewards of the club, we will invest in Diamond Creek, seeking to create the ultimate exclusive golf retreat for our distinguished membership," Friedken said in a statement.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
If you haven't seen video of Phil Mickelson's 100-yard shot for a potential $1-million charity prize last night, there's a link below.
Not to blow the drama but if you're thinking he hit the bull's eye, well...
Monday, October 15, 2012
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Given the events of last Sunday -- and almost every other Ryder Cup played over the past 20 years -- it seems a fair time to reconsider how the PGA of America chooses the American captain.
That's not to suggest Davis Love III was responsible for the Europeans' dramatic victory. Point that finger at Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and the others who played the golf that gave Europe its most dramatic victory.
Love had a plan, stuck with it and for two of the three days, it worked beautifully. Then Europe found its heartbeat and its putting stroke and everything changed.
Now the question is who will captain the U.S. team in Gleneagles, Scotland in two years.
If you follow the general outline, do the math and factor in the personalities, David Toms' name keeps popping up. He won a major and a handful of other events, has Ryder Cup experience and is a well-regarded gentleman.
There's a feeling it's Toms turn just as it was Corey Pavin's turn two years ago.
But the PGA of America should shake it up. Nothing against Toms but if another crushing loss isn't reason enough to step at least gently outside the box, what is?
The popular choice to be the next captain is Fred Couples, who has led the U.S. to two Presidents Cup victories and will captain a third team next fall when the matches are played at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Couples should get the job.
Why would being Presidents Cup captain disqualify him? It shouldn't.
Most people, including Couples, will be surprised if he gets the Ryder Cup call. It's as if you can do one or the other, the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup. Couples would be the first to tell you the Presidents Cup isn't on the same level as the Ryder Cup, though PGA Tour officials don't like to hear that.
But he's doing something right.
Others have suggested the PGA of America make a dramatic move and break with the unofficial formula for selecting a captain. It's worth considering.
It's not too late to ask Larry Nelson to be captain. He got shafted out of it before and while he's not a contemporary of today's PGA Tour players, he would have their respect. He could also hire younger assistants to help him.
Or bring back Paul Azinger. He'd love to do it again and he'd do it well.
Someone suggested Butch Harmon. Interesting idea.
That's what the PGA of America needs -- interesting ideas. It's time to change the formula.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Here's some of what Azinger, who will be part of ESPN's television crew, had to say.
On Phil MIckelson: "Phil Mickelson has always been worth at least a point a day in the team room. He's phenomenal."
On Tiger Woods: "Tiger is more reserved. Tiger's Ryder Cup record (13-14-2) is better than people think.
"I didn't have Tiger on my team. I would have loved to have Tiger in a small group. I would have put him with Boo (Weekley), J.B. (Holmes) and Kenny Perry. He'd have been in the redneck pool. What's important is to get Tiger with guys he not only gets along with but he can be an encourager, too.
On the Tiger-Rory McIlroy relationship: "It's a surprising turn of events. McIlroy said some things Tiger could have gotten mad about. I think Tiger has made a career out of wanting players to be uncomfortable with him. I think the only guy I can think of who was comfortable with Tiger and didn't change who he was Rocco Mediate. Rocco idolized him and laughed at how good he is, in his face, like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe you hit that shot. His personality didn't change head to head against Tiger.
"Tiger shows up in character. He's playing a part. When he gets out of his car in the parking lot he's a pro golfer in part. He's wearing a shirt the color of blood for a reason. He lets people know those are his power colors. He plays the role hard.
"He made a comment (at the PGA Championship) that he tried to be happy go lucky out there. What happened? That's a big change in his personality. Maybe he's looking at his life differently.
"If ever a guy has been a threat to Tiger's legacy and could rob him of a championship, it's Rory. It's a big turn of events. I see a different Tiger Woods from the one who relished in his ability to intimidate."
Monday, September 24, 2012
Before moving on to the Ryder Cup, let's take another moment to celebrate Brandt Snedeker.
Not just for winning the Tour Championship and the $10-million FedEx Cup bonus but for being Brandt Snedeker. If you're still getting comfortable with Snedeker as a world-class player, here's a suggestion -- be a fan.
He does many things well.
He plays fast, which is a beautiful thing.
He talks fast and he doesn't hide his emotions. What you see is what you get, including the floppy blond hair that looks like an old-style mop.
And he gets the big picture.
When he said Sunday evening, "Of anybody that I know, I do not need $11 million," it was so refreshing to hear.
He called winning the $10-million bonus prize "crazy talk" and explained why he could use the money to help others.
"One thing my dad did really well with me is whatever you buy in your life, you need to make sure you can pay for it," Snedeker said. "Don't ever go into debt to do anything and that's what I've done my whole life.
"This obviously give me a little more freedom to do some more stuff like that."
And when Snedeker said, "I really think we can make a difference and help a lot of people out in Nashville and Tennessee and the surrounding areas," you knew he meant it.
Well played, on so many levels.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
When Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods tee it up together Thursday in the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake, it will be another chapter in their buddies series that has developed in this FedEx Cup playoff.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
It's been interesting to see how Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy seem to have taken to each other. Through the years, Woods has kept most of his rivals at a distance with a few exceptions, such as Steve Stricker. With McIlroy, it's different.
It's obvious Woods likes McIlroy and admires his game. One of the best things about the FedEx Cup playoffs is the way it's put Woods and McIlroy together so often, a pairing that will continue at the Tour Championship next week at East Lake in Atlanta.
Woods' self-motivation is well known but McIlroy's brilliance comes at an ideal time for Woods, who will no doubt use the challenge to continue pushing himself. Woods has played his golf in a bubble, churning on his own intensity, staring down everyone else.
In McIlroy's case, Woods has shown a warmth rarely seen in the competitive realm. It complements both of them.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I learned long ago that golf has a mind -- and a warped sense of humor -- of its own.
That's why an otherwise beautiful tee shot can stop in a divot, why your opponent's skulled 7-iron can skip across the water like Captain Sullenberger hit it and why kids want to dress like Rickie Fowler.
If you play, you understand. If you don't play, don't start. You'll have more fun piercing your tongue.
That brings me to my latest slapdown.
Playing in the Cedarwood club championship over the weekend, I got beat by a man with a broken leg.
I know, Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on a broken leg. He was playing the Barclays last weekend, I checked.
The only guy I beat got DQ'd because he signed an incorrect scorecard.
I think he's the only guy I beat. I wisely grabbed a beer after the round and didn't glance at the scoreboard or anyone else before slinking away, pretending I had somewhere to be -- and it wasn't the practice tee.
Let me make it clear that I have great admiration for the man who beat me on one good leg. He has a rod in his bad leg, parts of it have come loose and he now has a stress fracture in his thigh bone. When he makes a full swing and tweaks his leg the wrong way, it looks like it hurts worse than a Rosie O'Donnell monologue.
But he loves golf and keeps playing through it, kicking my butt in the process.
There's something inspiring about his willingness to keep playing but let's not make it about him. Let's talk about me.
I could tell you I was 1-over par through seven holes and facing an easy approach shot into the par-5 eighth green Sunday, thinking I might be able to backdoor my way into second place in the net division after another in a long history of poor starts in the club championship.
But then I'd have to tell you that three holes later I was 10-over par and relieved that both of my Titleists missed every vehicle moving on Highway 51 after my tee shots at the easy 10th hole turned right of Sean Hannity on their way off the property.
You might think that seeing a man with a broken leg grinding away would push me to keep grinding, too. You might be wrong.
A three-hole stretch of double-bogey, triple-bogey, quadruple-bogey kills your incentive. Let's see sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella put a happy face on that scorecard.
I finished and, after briefly considering donating my clubs to a nearby pond and bailing out of an October trip to Bandon Dunes, I wondered why I'd expected anything different. If nearly 50 years of playing golf have taught me anything, it's not to bet on myself when you have to putt 'em out.
My only regret?
I should have bought the man with the broken leg a beer.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Fifteen-year old Lydia Ko, who won the LPGA Tour's Canadian Open on Sunday, wasn't born when Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters.
Make you feel old?
Make you wish you could hit it and putt it like the kids these days?
Ko became the youngest player in LPGA history to win a tournament, breaking the record set last year by Lexi Thompson. Ko was brilliant, making seven birdies on Sunday, to pull away from Jiyai Shin and Stacy Lewis, two of the tour's best players.
Afterward, she talked about wanting to buy a dog and her goal of attending Stanford, both of which she may eventually get though she couldn't take her $300,000 winner's check because she's still an amateur.
Ko's victory raised an interesting question:
What does it say about the LPGA Tour?
It's a tour in desperate need of a jolt of relevance and Ko's victory at least pulled some of the attention away from Nick Watney's victory in the Barclays and the musical chairs being played for the final four spots on Davis Love III's U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Without a dominant player at the moment - Yani Tseng's sterling game has dulled slightly - the LPGA needs someone or something to bring it into focus. Maybe it's Ko.
She recently won the U.S. Amateur and now she's an LPGA Tour winner. It says everything about her potential and perhaps too much about the LPGA Tour at the moment.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Recently, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw stopped by Pinehurst to take a look at their restoration project at No. 2, which has been open for more than a year now.
With both the men's and women's U.S. Opens less than two years away, they're looking closely at the width of fairways and the amount of growth in the sandy natural areas.
Here's a link to what they had to say about No. 2:
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Two area courses that made the conversion from bent grass to bermuda grass greens earlier this summer are ready to reopen.
Rocky River Golf Club in Concord is scheduled to reopen Aug. 20 and will offer special rates the first week after its reopening.
Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club in Denver will reopen to the public Aug. 25.
Both courses are among a large group of area courses that made the transition to more heat-tolerant putting surfaces this month. The Wyndham Championship being played this week at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro made a similar move and is hosting the PGA Tour less than 12 weeks after making the change.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Friday, August 10, 2012
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Wednesday, August 08, 2012