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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

I wasn’t ready for the 2019 Rules of Golf

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We weren’t ready. We thought we were, but we weren’t.

For the last year, the USGA reminded us that in 2019 Rules of Golf were coming, but we didn’t listen. We heard the flag stick could remain in and we heard that you could take a penalty drop from knee-height.

But we didn’t listen.

I bet none of you have even practiced using your putter to flatten the entire green between your ball and the cup. You can do that now.

I’m also sure that you and I will continue to hover our club in all hazards, er, penalty areas. Yeah, we’re calling it a penalty area now.

The USGA went to the extreme depths of changing words all to simplify the game for you.

I don’t think the USGA listened either.

The rule changes were intended to speed up play and simplify golf for amateurs. Seems like a good idea. In turn, they may have bamboozled the PGA Tour while confusing the only amateurs who kind-of, sort-of knew the rules.

The pros didn’t need a new rule book, the amateurs just needed a simple one.

Us “locals” as the USGA refers to amateurs, do have one extremely fluid perk. When hitting a ball OB, or following a lost ball, you can drop with a two-stroke penalty instead of walking back to the tee. This of course, is dependent on your course, head professional, tournament conditions, and other factors including and not limited to what phase the moon is in.

If that’s somewhat confusing, read up, ask about your local rules, and buy a few extra sleeves. Reason being, in 2019, the limit on searching for a golf ball has been cut from five to three minutes.

2019-rules-of-golf

But wait, there’s good news.

Thanks to the USGA, if you accidentally move your ball as you frantically high-step through fescue, it’s no longer a penalty! What an exciting 180 seconds that will be!

If you somehow don’t find your golf ball in the hazard penalty area, the USGA tried to help us out, which they did, yet regrettably took away a more iconic portrait on the golf course.

The rigid, stoic stance and forceful drop of a ball at shoulder-height.

And we let it happen.

Now, we’ll watch a defeated man deliberately bend to his knees and gingerly drop his ball…Which, by the way, appears to be a convenient way for cheaters to “take a drop” that ideally doubles as “identifying my first ball”.

Don’t even get me started on the back issues this could flare up.

We heard in late 2018 that Bryson DeChambeau would use the flagstick when the odds were in his favor. He even laid it out simply for us.

“It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick.”

Simple.

We didn’t listen Bryson, we didn’t believe. We also have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

But hey, as Bryson would say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Yeah, he’d clearly never say that, but here’s to hoping!

We heard he would do it, but we didn’t believe it. We had to see to believe. What we saw was DeChambeau first in strokes gained putting in the very first round he was allowed to do it.

Obviously, this trend will continue for DeChambeau, and others may join in, because what is golf if not a constant chase for a marginally better opportunity at success.

Watch your back, because those others that may join in could be closer than you think. You may turn around to find a fellow member asking for the flag on their next 12-footer.

It should be a fun year of commentary and confusion at your local club and on the PGA tour. Professionals will have constant questions for rules officials, and commentators will consistently question Bryson’s methods.

There is one real question I hope is answered this April.

What will we do when Bryson banks in a downhill putt at No. 2 of Augusta?

Will we be ready? Will Augusta?

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19th Hole

Tweets of the Week: Justin Rose shows off his Honma clubs, Justin Timberlake does Happy Gilmore and Barack Obama’s new swing

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ho-sung-choi-swing

Over the last seven days, Matt Kuchar brought home the bacon at the Sony Open, while golf fans got a look at plenty of new equipment releases for 2019. But here’s some things you may have missed, and some of the quirkier moments from the world of golf dished out in the Twittersphere in the last week.

Justin Timberlake’s Draw

Ten Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, and he can hit a perfect draw Happy Gilmore style. Bit annoying.

Rose Showcases His New Honma Clubs

Still waiting to make his first start of 2019, the World Number 1 is ready to go as a member of Team Honma.

Chez Reavie Goes Bananas

In case you missed it, Chez Reavie became the first player since the PGA Tour began keeping records to make three eagles on three par 4’s in a single round. The fact that he holed out each one from the fairway is quite incredible.

Obama’s New Swing

Barack Obama has had a bit more free time over the past couple of years, since, well you know, he’s not running the country anymore. How do you rate his swing, GolfWRXers?

Double Hit Rule

This video has caused much confusion over the past week on social media. The double hit rule may have changed in 2019, but this attempt is still illegal. Impressive either way you look at it though.

 

 

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19th Hole

Exploring Ireland: Where to golf, drink and stay on the Emerald Isle. Pt. 4. Bearna Golf Club, Galway

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In these series of articles, I will be taking you around the Emerald Isle providing you with great golf courses to visit in some of the loveliest spots in Ireland. I’ll also be highlighting the best and most authentic Irish bars in these spots, as well as places to stay, eat and how to get there. Whether you’re taking a golfing holiday to Ireland in 2019 or are interested in doing so sometime in the future, I’ll make sure to let you in on the best places to spend your time.

In Part Three of our Exploring Ireland Series, we went west and focused on Spanish Point Golf Club in Clare. Now it’s time for Part Four, and we’re staying on the west coast and taking the short trip up to County Galway.

Galway city is famous for its bustling nightlife, and in terms of bars to choose from, there are few better places in Ireland. Whether it’s a quiet night out and a meal, enjoying a few pints with some live traditional music, or a wild all-nighter you’re looking for, Galway certainly has you covered. Conveniently, the city also homes some top golf courses, which makes it a must-visit destination for anyone coming to this island.

Bearna Golf Club, Galway

@kevinmarkham

Galway Golf Club and Galway Bay Golf Resort are usually the two golf courses that people think of when they mention this county. But lurking under the radar is Bearna Golf Club, which will provide you with just as incredible an experience as those two courses, at a lower price.

Located within a 15-minute drive of Galway City, Bearna GC offers an authentic Irish golfing experience. Surrounded by bogland, you can expect your nose to take in all of the scents of Ireland as you navigate your way through the rugged land of humps, gorse bushes and ditches that will give your game a real workout.

@kevinmarkham

Creeks will appear on most fairways, so don’t expect to be able to turn up and grip it and rip it. Bearna is a golf course that is going to make you think, and with the challenges provided, will most likely test your patience as well as your skill.

The track offers five different sets of tees, all of which provide for a fun test. The course ranges between 4,897 yards and 6,271 yards and plays as either a Par 72 or 71 depending on the tees you choose. Thirteen holes feature water, and the one relief that you will find here that is different than other courses in the area is the lack of fairway bunkers.

@IrishGolfPhotos

Robert J. Browne designed the course back in 1996, and as well as the feeling you will have of being amongst nature, you will also have impressive views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the famous Burren.

During the week, 18 holes around Bearna GC will set you back just under $50, while to play on the weekend the rate rises to $75. Don’t be surprised if after your round you want another crack at this deceptive course.

Food & Drink – Tig Coili, Galway

@DBloom451

There is no “best pub in Galway.” The city has an inordinate amount of amazing watering holes to spend your night, and it just comes down to personal taste and what experience you are looking to have for your night. As someone who loves the feel of an old traditional Irish pub though, Tig Coili gets my vote.

@stacy_sobieski

Located in the Latin Quarter of Galway City, this place will often have swarms of people flooding out from the bar onto the street. Traditional music plays here every night, with 14 music sessions each week. The pub prides itself on its music, with pictures of famous musicians that have played here in the past covering the walls.

Also, Tig Coili’s pint of Guinness is renowned for being one of the best in the area, and it’s what 90 percent of folks will be drinking for the night here.

@MeetInGalway

As for food in Galway, it can only be oysters. Described by multiple top chefs as the “best flavoured in the world,” the oysters here come from Galway Bay and are so popular in the city that should you visit here in September you can enjoy Galway’s three day Oyster festival.

You can hop into most bars in Galway serving food and throw back half a dozen oysters, but if you want to experience them for a sit-down meal then go and visit Oscars Seafood Bistro, where the flavour will blow your socks off. An early bird two-course meal of half a dozen oysters and a plate of steaming hot mussels with fries will cost just $20. The perfect drink pairing for oysters? Guinness. Ideal.

Where To Stay

My recommendation is to stay in the center of Galway. We’ve gone traditional in our visits to Donegal and Clare, but for Galway, the city is so alive that you will want to stay right in the heart of it. The Jury’s Inn is a solid option, which will leave you within walking distance of the best bars, restaurants and sights to see in the city. A double room here will set you back in the region of $100 a night.

@WriterVicYates

If you like to shop then visit Quay Street, where you can take in the shops while plenty of buskers on the street entertain you, while the bronze statue of Irish writer Oscar Wilde and Estonian writer Eduard Vilde is an imposing outdoor sight that is a trendy spot for a photo.

@IndoSport

But as we’re sports lovers, then when in Galway do whatever you can to catch a game of hurling. Galway’s hurling side are currently one of the best teams in the land, winning the All-Ireland title in 2017, and they possess some of the most passionate fans. Just try not to mention the last final when you get here.

How to Get There

Galway is about as accessible as it gets from anywhere in the island. You can take the train from any major city in Ireland, and it’ll take you right into the city center of Galway. A direct train from Dublin City will arrive in Galway in just over two hours.

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