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19th Hole

Anchored putter debate still smolders on the PGA Tour Champions



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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  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

Pat Perez: The R&A “do it right, not like the USGA”



Pat Perez opened The Open, as it were, with a 2-under 69, and at the time of this writing, he’s 4 under for the second round and tied for the lead.

Clearly, there’s something Double P likes about links golf. And when he was asked whether he was surprised by how receptive the greens at Carnoustie were after his opening round, Perez shook his head with conviction and said.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA…They’ve got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you’ve got the greens receptive. They’re not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn’t. The course is just set up perfect.”

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

Pat Perez has no problem speaking his mind. While it has gotten him in trouble in the past, you have to respect his candor. The interesting question, as I asked in the Morning 9, is how many Tour pros agree him?

Sure, it’s unlikely any of Perez’s compatriots will join him publicly in his “R&A does it right, USGA does it wrong” stance, but it’d be very interesting to know what percentage are of the same mind.

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19th Hole

68 at the British Open in the morning, golf with hickories at St Andrews in the afternoon



Yes, golf fans, just another day in the charmed life (or week, at least) of one Brandon Stone.

Stoney (as I assume his friends call him), came to Carnoustie on the heels of a final-round 60 to win the Scottish Open. All he did in his opening round was fire a 3-under 68. Not bad!

But his Thursday to remember was only getting started as Stone made the 25-mile trip south to the Old Course to peg it…with a set of hickory clubs! Well played, sir, well played.

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19th Hole

Jean van de Velde’s 1999 British Open collapse is still tough to watch in LEGO form



Gather ‘round, golf fans, for the saddest British Open story ever told–in LEGOs.

Maestro of the plastic medium, Jared Jacobs, worked his singular magic on Jean van de Velde’s notorious final-hole collapse at Carnoustie in 1999.

The interlocking plastic brick cinema begins after van de Velde’s approach shot has caromed off a grandstand railing to land on the opposite side of the Barry Burn.


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