BROOMSTICK pioneer Peter Senior fears a proposed ban on ''anchoring'' the controversial long-handled putter to the body could lead to major interpretation dramas for golf officials.
The Royal and Ancient and United States Golf Association on Wednesday proposed a new law to come into effect from January 1, 2016, prohibiting strokes made with the club held against the player's body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point.
While the game's current No.1 player Rory McIlroy and Australia's former No.1 golfer Greg Norman agree the decision is the correct one, Senior felt the planned rule change was a potential can of worms.
''I would have liked to have seen a clear-cut decision straight away,'' Senior said from Perth, where he's playing the Australian Senior Open.
''I don't want it to hang on [until 2016] … if they're going to get rid of it, get rid of it,'' added the 53-year-old Queenslander who's used a broomstick since 1988.
''They've got some diagrams showing your elbow can't do this and your forearm can't be against this … I mean seriously, how hard is it going to be to police all that?
''That's going to be the hardest thing, people accusing other people of not doing the right thing. It could turn into a real shit-fight.''
Since Norman backed his switch to a long-handled putter last year, world No.5 Adam Scott has anchored a broomstick putter to his chest for six top 15 finishes in eight majors - including runner-up finishes at last year's Masters and this year's British Open.
However, Norman sided with McIlroy and Tiger Woods by describing the pending rule change as the right move.
''I have spoken out about the long putter since the mid-1980s,'' Norman said from the US. ''I am a big believer that the biggest parts of the game, especially under the gun, is your nerves and how your mind, your brain, your synapses connect electrically with your muscles. How you control the body controls the golf swing, anchoring the putter halts that process and makes it easier.''
McIlroy didn't hold back, tweeting: ''Fully agree with the anchoring ban.''
''Better image for the game of golf, skill and nerves are all part of the game. Level playing field in '16.''
Concerns about the perceived advantages of broomstick or belly putters escalated following wins by rookie Keegan Bradley (US PGA), Webb Simpson (US Open) and one-time broomstick critic Ernie Els (British Open) in three of the past five majors.
The R&A and the USGA said that before making a final decision on the proposed rule change they would ''consider any further comments and suggestions from throughout the golf community''.
The PGA of America, which represents club professionals and stages the PGA Championship major tournament, issued a response indicating a ban could have a chilling effect on the growth of the game.
''We are asking [R&A and USGA] to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game,'' PGA of America president Ted Bishop said in a statement.
The PGA Tour issued a non-committal response.
''We only recently have been able to review the final language and have not until now had the opportunity to share it with our policy board and membership,'' tour officials said in a statement. ''It will be discussed at our next annual player meeting on January 22 in San Diego.''