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Anchored putting banned from 2016

Masters champion Adam Scott will have to modify his putting stroke after the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) and US Golf Association (USGA) officially confirmed on Tuesday a ban on anchoring the club.

Almost six months since proposing the rule change, golf's governing bodies confirmed a new rule 14-1b - effective on January 1, 2016 - would be adopted.

It will prohibit players from anchoring a club directly, or by use of an anchor point, against any part of the body, effectively banning belly and chest putting, which has helped four of the past six major champions.

The governing bodies produced a 32-page document detailing their decision, but did not provide any statistical data proving the stroke was an advantage, claiming it was not necessary for them to do so.

"We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said.

"The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised.


"We recognise this has been a divisive issue but, after thorough consideration, we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf."

USGA president Glen D. Nager added it was all about the traditions of the game and upholding its integrity.

"Our best judgement is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game - that the player freely swing the entire club," Nager said.

"The new Rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of a stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf."

Scott, who won his first major championship with a broomstick putter anchored into his chest, has been a vocal opponent of the ban and recently said he'd likely just remove his anchor point ever so slightly off his body but continue to use the long putter.

"Now we're making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? - incredible," the Australian said prior to the announcement.

"What did they think when they allowed it? You're dealing with professional athletes who are competitive, who want to find better ways ... What do they think when they've got super-talented golfers putting in thousands of hours of practice with a long putter, short putter, sand wedge, whatever? It was just a matter of time. They're going to get good.

"I don't really have a back-up plan. I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.

"I don't think there will be anything much for me to change. If I have to separate the putter a millimetre from my chest, then I'll do that.

"I don't see myself putting any different, looks wise. My hand will be slightly off my chest."

Scott might yet get a reprieve from the US PGA Tour who could, if they feel it appropriate, write their own rules for their own competitions, creating different rules for regular events and major championships.

The Tour had already voiced its disapproval of the rule change.

"We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation," the PGA Tour said in a statement.

"In this regard, over the next month, we will engage in discussions with our Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members.

"We will announce our position regarding the application of Rule 14-1b to our competitions upon conclusion of our process and we will have no further comment on the matter until that time."