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Anchored putter debate still smolders on the PGA Tour Champions

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Scott McCarron, who called out Phil Mickelson for “cheating” when he put a Ping Eye 2 wedge in play in 2012, is himself still embroiled in a debate over the legality of his putting stroke.

Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch talked to McCarron as he prepares to take the biggest bite he can out of Bernhard Langer’s pie on the PGA Tour Champions this season.

Not surprisingly, the topic of the anchored putting stroke came up. McCarron, also not surprisingly, doesn’t think much of Brandel Chamblee’s July take that players have a get out of jail free card thanks to the “intent” wording in the USGA’s anchoring ruling.

“Brandel and I have been friends for a long time. I’ve worked in the TV business. I know you say things sometimes you aren’t really sure about. And he usually does his homework. He’s very diligent. This time he missed the boat.”

Lynch also quoted fellow Champions player Tom Pernice, Jr., who doesn’t think the debate over Langer and McCarron’s putting has been put to bed.

“It’s a huge issue…A lot of players aren’t going to say anything about it to the press. It’s not fair. If you’re playing for a living, there’s a skill level in putting and that is being able to control the fulcrum point.”

“It’s close enough that he has a reference for his fulcrum point, OK? That’s close enough. That hand, it cannot be touching when he starts, but at some point in the stroke it can rub up against his shirt and that’s within the rule. In my opinion that’s enough of a reference to be able to control the fulcrum point.”

In other words, Pernice agrees with Chamblee, and he suggests other pros do as well. While McCarron and Langer aren’t technically cheating, they aren’t operating with integrity, he seems to say.

In the judicial sphere, laws are the floor of moral conduct: the bare minimum we’re expected to do. Ethical standards, however, set a higher bar. Pernice suggests the non-anchored-anchoring folks fail to clear this second hurdle.

What do you think, GolfWRX members?

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. jc

    Jan 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    how about…long putters could not have ONE grip longer than 12 inches

  2. jc

    Jan 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    we have a few who still use the broomstick and I notice that they pullback gimmes tend to be longer since they can reach out further to get the ball….and of course, the two club drop is a LONG drop

  3. Mat

    Jan 9, 2018 at 4:46 am

    Putters should be no longer than 3″ longer than the shortest club. This makes a 38″ counterbalance ok with a 35″ wedge. The rule would only need to be that the club cannot be in contact with anything other than the arms/hands. If you want to lock your wrists into your belly, fine. You don’t have fulcrum control. If that putter handle makes contact with your belly during the stroke, haha on you.

    To the broom sweepers that putt facing forward, sorry. It should be eliminated from the amateur game like the square wedges – in 12ish years.

  4. Scott

    Jan 8, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    I agree, McCaaron is hypocritical, I remember when he called Phil out for not following the “INTENT” of the groove rule, but excuses himself. Live what you preach my friend.

  5. Bill Mullen

    Jan 8, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    Observing both Langer and McCarron since the rule has been in place, both, especially Langer, are essentially anchoring. I don’t know about McCarron but Langer is openly a committed Christian who claims to believe the Bible and he Bible is clear that even the appearance of cheating (the same as lying) is a sin. As a Christian, he should hold himself to a higher standard.

    • kourt

      Jan 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Haha come on dont bring the dudes religion into a freaking game of golf. If it was truly cheating then it wouldnt be allowed, and the people interpreting the rules say its not. If people think its such an advantage why dont they start putting the same way?

  6. Chip Royce

    Jan 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a few notable champions tour players and they have echoed Pernice’s comments, but won’t discuss on the record due to possible negative publicity.

  7. Kevin

    Jan 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I think Chamblee and Pernice are being very generous. McCarron and Langer are doing more than “rubbing their shirt” at some point in the stroke. They are anchoring the club to their chest and controlling the fulcrum point in a way that is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the rule. The rule needs to be re-written to remove this ambiguity!

    Given the open defiance of the intent of the rule by prominent players like Langer and McCarron I would rewrite it to require the putter to the be shortest club in a player’s bag and to ban any anchoring to the player’s body (including the forearm).

    • steve

      Jan 8, 2018 at 6:11 pm

      Do you agree with the “simple solution” offered below?

  8. allan

    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Simple solution: — Ban the split hand and handle grip. Keep both hands together when putting and that would eliminate the problem…. unless somebody wants to keep their 48″ putter and hold both hands together at their chest level to prop up the stroke!

    • mlecuni

      Jan 9, 2018 at 5:56 am

      Simple solution #2:
      Limit the length of the putter.

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19th Hole

Is this the worst “my clubs were stolen” story ever?

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Tom Owen. Remember the name, because this unfortunate gentleman may have the worst tale of club theft in recent memory.

Now, the experience of having one’s bag pilfered, never to be seen again, is awful. Your clubs are simply gone, and you have no idea who took them and where they went. Tom Owen had the first part of that experience, however, he knows exactly where his clubs are…and he can’t (legally) do anything about it.

Therese Henkin New Zealand’s Howick & Pakuranga Times originally reported the story.

Mr. Owen’s bag, with its thousands of dollars of equipment and his cell phone, was lifted December 15th from Howick Golf Course at Musick Point, New Zealand.

“They took everything, all my clubs, my bag, trundle, golf balls and my mobile phone which was tucked away inside the bag,” he told the paper.

However, as this is the 21st century, Owen was able to track his phone (which was in his golf bag) to a nearby residential address on Pigeon Mountain Road.

Presumably overjoyed, he called the police to report the theft and the location of his stolen property. One can only imagine his despair when he was told the authorities would be unable to lawfully search the premises and thus could not recover his clubs.

After reporting the incident, Owen was surprised to learn that police were not able to search the premises for the goods.

A police spokesperson explained.

“While we understand people may think police can use the tracking system people use on their phones and then send a patrol car to retrieve the property, under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012, police officers do not have the authority to enter a premise based off a locater app on a missing phone. If police resources are available and the technology can pin-point a specific address such as a household, Police are able to knock on the door and make enquiries, but not enter.”

Obviously, Owen isn’t a fan of the law, and he thinks it puts victims in a bad position. He’s right: Knowing the authorities can’t do anything, but knowing where your stolen phone, etc, is, do you risk your life taking the law into your own hands?

“It’s very frustrating to know where your stolen items are and not have anyone do anything about it. If police really can’t act on the information you give them, then something needs to change.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does this make any sense? Do you join Owen in calling for a rewriting of the law?

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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson’s pursuit of average driving, Phil being Phil, and plenty more Mickelsonia from the wires today

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Phil Mickelson. We tend to forget the left-hander remains a divisive, swashbuckling figure as he settles into the home stretch of his PGA Tour career. We pretend that his outrageous risk-taking-masquerading-as-cool-calculation approach to the game is somehow something other than an affront to the plodding, conservative way the game was “meant to be played.” Phil Mickelson: Even those who can’t stand him have to be deeply intrigued by Mickelson the Man and Mickelson the Golfer. How can you not be fascinated? How can you not be frustrated?

The 47-year-old begins his season at the CareerBuilder Challenge this week seeking his first victory since the 2013 British Open. Thus, it’s not surprising to see a rash of Mickelson-related pieces populating the golf newswire today.

Here are a few morsels. Per Cameron Morfit of PGATour.com, Mickelson is pursuing “average” driving this year. The left-hander has historically struggled with the big stick and placed outside the top 100 in strokes gained: off-the-tee last season,

Here’s what Mickelson said about his pursuit of mediocrity off the tee.

“What’s funny is when you’re good at something, chipping, putting, wedges, distance control, all that stuff, it’s easy. It takes me a day or two of practice to get back to kind of an elite level. But to become just an average driver when you’re not good at it, it takes a lot of work. And that’s what I’ve been spending the last few years on, really trying to figure it out. Get the swing plane right, get shallower into the ball, get the weighting of the driver right. The whole mental approach to the driver. Just to get everything dialed in just to be average.”

“I just don’t want to give away shots off the tee. I don’t need to gain shots off the tee; I’ll gain them elsewhere. I feel like the short putting has been addressed. I feel like, and believe, that I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough with the driver. And if that happens, I think 2018 could be a remarkable year, a year where I can win multiple times.”

Golfweek’s Brentley Romine has some interesting remarks from Jon Rahm. Rahm, of course, was coached by Phil’s brother Tim at Arizona State–a job Mickelson left to manage Rahm. Tim Mickelson then ditched that gig to loop for his brother after Bones Mackay dropped his bag to pick up a microphone. In other words, Rahm has seen the pair up close plenty of times, and had this to say about the difference between his approach to the game and that of the variable-obsessed Mickelson

“It’s really fun to hear how they (Phil and Tim) talk to each other, because Tim being my coach at ASU, I don’t need much – “Okay, it’s like 120 (yards), this shot, right?’” Rahm said. “And you have Phil, it’s like, ‘Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like 1 mph wind sideways, it’s going to affect it 1 yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They’re thinking (that) and I’m like, ‘I’m lost.

“It’s funny, he gets to the green and then it’s the same thing. He’s very detail-oriented. He gets there and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a foot right.’ And he goes, okay, he reads the green, like, ‘Oh, it’s 1.8 degrees of slope here and this and that. And I’m there listening and I’m like, ‘Man, I hope we’re never paired together for anything because I can’t think like this.’ I would not be able to play golf like that. For me to listen to all that is really fun. And then you hear me and Adam talk, ‘180, a little breeze into, okay, hard six.’ … And it’s just opposite extremes completely.”

Different strokes before making strokes.

Then, there is this piece from Shane Ryan exploring the nature of Phil Mickelson, if you will, and suggesting he could impress this year. Of course, this is a wholly inadequate description of a piece for Golfworld you absolutely must read.

 

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19th Hole

What’s your favorite photo from the history of pro golf?

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Golf history, as we know, is rich. Dramatic storylines, pithy anecdotes, iconic equipment, and storybook shots are all woven into the vibrant tapestry of the game at the professional level.

It’s no surprise, then, that from the rough black-and-white of Old Tom Morris, open-stanced, gazing past the camera to his target, to the present DSLR shots, the history of the professional game is peppered with great photographs.

WRX member Christosterone started a thread with the question, “What’s your favorite tour picture and why?”

He offered this shot of “three reverse-c idols and a Texan.”

Of course, it only took one response, for someone to offer up this classic shot of Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan. One assumes that the fact that they didn’t care for one another only enhanced their badass postures.

 

Also, dicko999 (who better to post the following?), offered a cropped version of the legendary Presidents Cup streaker shot. Beyond the absurdity of the scene, the facial expressions make this shot great.

Just a fantastic thread that you’ll want to check out–and hopefully add a photo of your own to.

Check out the thread.

 

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