"Anchored putting" style under fire from golf association

(CBS News) A popular putting style has come under fire from the United States Golf Association. The association recently laid out a proposed rule change that would prohibit amateur and professional golfers from using their bodies as an anchor point for their putting swing.

The new rule would not prohibit the use of extended-length putters, which are necessary in order to "anchor" the putter against the body, but it would determine how they can be used going forward. 

Fifteen percent of players on the PGA tour this year used an anchored putter in competition and three out of the last five winners of golf majors used the technique in question.

Thomas Pagel oversees the rules for the USGA and claims their main concern is preserving the traditional way golf has been played for centuries.

"What's the essence of making a stroke," Pagel asked, "For 600 years, that's been gripping the club with two hands, freely swinging the club and controlling the club throughout the swing."

David Feherty, a CBS golf broadcaster, dismissed the heated debate surrounding the proposed change and likened the argument to "listening to the fleas argue about who owns the dog."

Feherty added that, "We missed the boat on changing this rule. If we wanted to change it, it should have been done a long time ago."

He went on to critique the oversight of the USGA over professional golf. "We are the only professional sport that allows the amateur body to make rules for our game."

Turning back to the specific putting technique issue, Feherty sees no problem with allowing amateur golfers to use extended-length putters for anchor putting. While he said the swing was "never right for professional gold," he added that "for amateur gold ... anything that helps them ... enjoy the game more can't be a bad thing."

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