Ernie Els: anchored putter ban 'a huge issue'

Ernie Els has come out in support of the game's governing bodies but labelled the anchored putter ban 'a huge issue'

Major Winners Not From the U.S. or UK

Ernie Els has come out in support of the game's governing bodies but labelled the anchored putting ban 'a huge issue.'

The USGA and R&A announced at concurrent news conferences yesterday that rule 14-1b - the clause phohibiting anchored strokes - will come into force from January 2016.

"I felt it was going to happen. As I've said before, you've got to go with the ruling bodies. I think they are looking out for the best interests of the game in the long run," said Els.

"The argument forerver will be, you know, could they have done it 25, 30 years ago?

"But it is what it is. We are where we are. They have made their decision, and I think we are all going to have to play ball."

The PGA Tour released a statement shorly after the announcement, stating it would undertake a month-long deliberation process before announcing its final position.

If the PGA Tour declined to implement the new rule, it could lead to a bifurcation - where PGA Tour events and R&A events could be governed by two different sets of rules.

"I don't want to speak for the US Tour, Tim Finchem or the player advisory board right now, but they're probably going to have to play ball somehow," said Els.

"I don't know what those other guys (players that use the anchored putter) are going to do now. It's a huge issue, this.

"This is a guy's livelihood you're talking about. Taking that away from him now, that's a huge issue.

"So we are probably going to have to wait and see what the individuals do. But as a golfing body, I think the [PGA] Tour will probably play ball."

Els also admitted he didn't think he would have won the 2012 Open Championship without use of the anchored putter.

His comments came at a BMW PGA press conference on Wednesday, the morning after anchored putter-wielder Tim Clark announce he was going to seek legal advice.

"Yeah, I think that's going to happen. I think you're going to have some guys that are going to go that way. This is a real issue for some players," said Els.

Nick Bonfield
Nick Bonfield

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x