As many of you are aware, earlier today the USGA and the R&A released their statement and position on a proposed change to the Rules of Golf that would, if formally adopted, result in a ban related to anchoring a putter or, for that matter, any golf club. This revision to the Rules would go into effect as of January 1, 2016. The statement also indicated that there is a comment period that will extend through February 28, 2013.
Click here to read a letter dated November 27, 2012, that I sent, as the President of The PGA of America, to USGA President Glen Nager and Executive Director Mike Davis in advance of their official statement. In addition, click here to view the USGA's official statement that was released today.
As you will see upon review of my letter, we respectfully recognized the crucial and historical role the USGA plays in writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf. However, we also set forth our position on this issue as we believe it may have a negative impact on the growth of the game and, as importantly, the ability of people to enjoy the game.
You will also see where we referenced the poll conducted last week of you, our PGA members, highlighting the extremely high participation rate (roughly 16% or 4,228 of our membership) which illustrates the importance of this issue. Nearly two thirds of the respondents indicated that they do not favor a ban.
As your elected leadership, we are well aware of our role in representing your interests in the industry and our mission to take and pursue the necessary steps and actions needed to grow the game that we all serve. At this stage, based on the discussions we have had with the USGA, as well as a series of presentations that they have made to us, there does not appear to be any data that suggests that anchoring a golf club results in an unfair advantage. As I stated in my letter to the USGA, in the absence of such data and based on our polling and all of the exciting progress our industry has made through Golf 2.0 and other related initiatives to make the game more fun and, quite frankly, more enjoyable and welcoming to a broader and more diverse audience, we have respectfully requested that the USGA and the R&A consider our concerns during this key comment period.
We want you to be aware of the USGA's position and our written statement to them. We intend to monitor this situation very closely and will continue to have in depth discussions with the USGA and other key entities, including the PGA Tour.
Lastly, we welcome any comments or concerns you may have. We, the 27,000 PGA men and women around the United States, are on the front lines of the game and, therefore, we believe it is imperative that our collective voice be heard in regard to this crucial issue.
Very truly yours,
Ted Bishop, PGA
The PGA of America
The PGA of America
100 Avenue of the Champions
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418