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.