Is it time for the governing bodies to re-evaluate the anchored putting ban?

The Scoop

James Savage and Keel Timmins face off in the latest edition of Alternate Shot

The R&A and USGA banned anchored putting in 2016, but the likes of Players champion Webb Simpson still continue to take advantage. So is it time to fine tune the rule? Two of our writers disagree…

Yes, says James Savage

Belly putters and broom-handles were supposed to be for older guys who struggled with shorter putters, but when guys in their 20s like Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson started winning majors with them – not to mention when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang rocked up with a belly putter at the 2013 Masters – the R&A and USGA decided enough was enough.
Players like Simpson, Bradley and Adam Scott, who won the 2013 Masters by anchoring a broom-handle putter to his chest, were forced to adapt. Or bend the rules. Accusations have been made against a number of players including Bernhard Langer.
Simpson uses a putter with an extended handle which he runs up the inside of his left arm to his elbow. He then uses his right hand lower down. Matt Kuchar adopts a similar method.
The rules state that the hands and arms must be moving freely (forearms not in contact with torso) and the putter must not be braced above the elbow. So technically Simpson is not breaking the rules. But I don’t like it. To me it still feels like an advantage is being gained. And it looks bad.
Personally, I’d like a rule where the putter can only be in contact with the hands. And if you’re struggling with that, it’s tough luck.
The rules on the original anchor ban need changing.

No, says Keel Timmins

I’m not going to bemoan Webb Simpson anchoring his putter into his arm, because it’s legal under the current wording of the rule.

But my main argument for leaving it as it is? I just don’t see how players that anchor their putters into their arms are gaining an advantage over the players that use a regular putting grip.

And why would Simpson change a formula that’s working for him? Look at Adam Scott, former World No. 1 and former Masters champion, who now ranks outside of the top 50 and hasn’t won an event in more than two years.

His transition from long putter to short putter has been disastrous. It just shows that players that have previously gone to other unconventional putting methods cannot putt anywhere near as well with a ‘standard’ putting grip.

And who can blame these players for trying to get the most out of their careers by opting for different putting techniques? It’s just natural instinct. If something isn’t working, try something else.

For that reason, I can’t criticise players that currently anchor the putter up their arms. What would be next? Ban the pencil grip?

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