Date: May 27, 2013

Grant Report – Ban won’t affect my putting: Scott

US Masters champion Adam Scott says the coming ban on anchored broomstick putters will not affect his ability to win tournaments.

Scott says all he needs to do his to slightly modify his style. The Australian will still use a long putter but will keep it slightly away from his body while putting.

"I don’t really have a back-up plan, I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, Scott said. "I don’t think there will be anything much for me to change. If I have to separate the putter a millimetre from my chest, then I’ll do that.

"I don’t see myself putting any different, looks wise. My hand will be slightly off my chest."

The Queenslander has won 18 of 21 worldwide career victories with a short putter and 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch both agree Scott can adjust.

”I don’t think he’ll have any issues changing back or finding a way to putt,” Ogilvy said. ”He won a lot of tournaments with a traditional putter. He might not go back but he’ll find a way that might be just as good as he is now.”

Baker-Finch says Scott has risen to the top of the elite level not just on his putting ability.

"’It is all about the attitude because that part of this is 100 per cent his decision,” Baker-Finch said. ”I fully believe it’s not necessarily the putting that’s got him to where he is in golf. It’s his overall ability. He’s a great ball-striker and he’s one of the best drivers in the game.”

The putting rule will take effect from January 1, 2016, in acordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf, although star Tiger Woods has called for it to be implemented immediately.

The regulation means players will not be able to anchor their putters against any part of the body, banning belly and chest putting, which has been used by four of the past six major champions.

Rule 14-1b, which was proposed on 28 November 2012, has now been given final approval by The R&A and the USGA following an extensive review by both organisations. The decision to adopt the new Rule came after a comprehensive process in which comments and suggestions from across the golf community were collected and thoroughly considered.

The two governing bodies have prepared a detailed report which explains the principles on which the Rules of Golf are founded, why freely swinging the entire club is the essence of the traditional method of stroke, and why anchoring is a substantially different form of stroke that may alter and diminish the fundamental challenges of the game.

It points out that the Rule will still allow the use of belly-length and long putters and that a wide variety of types of strokes remain for players to use.

The report concludes that the new Rule should not adversely affect participation in the game, that it is not too late or unfair to require players to comply with it and that it will remove concerns about any potential advantage that anchoring provides.

It also makes clear that one set of  Rules is essential to the future health of the game.

Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of  The R&A said: “We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game.

"The report gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised.

"We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf.”

USGA President Glen D. Nager said: “Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed Rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club.

“The new Rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf.”

By: Robert Grant