If the powers that be at the U.S. Golf Association and R&A, golf's governing body, have their way, belly putters, used by a growing number of touring pros, along with scores of serious amateurs and newbies alike, will soon be a thing of the past – assuming that “soon” refers to three years from now.
Photo credit: PGATour.com
If passed, the proposed measure, Rule 14-1b – announced earlier today by Peter Dawson, R&A chief executive officer, and Mike Davis, USGA executive director, in a joint teleconference – will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016.
The rule, which will remain under review for an indeterminate time, will disallow “strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player's body, or with a forearm held against the body to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club." See below for a graphic overview, provided by the USGA online:
Belly putters are currently used by Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els, among many other top pros.
Reps from the PGA Tour, which adheres to rules established by the USGA, said in a statement that the organization had yet to review the specifics of the proposed measure.
Although many in the game have called for a ban on the controversial belly putters, others were critical of the announcement. PGA president Ted Bishop said in a prepared statement: “As our mission is to grow the game, on behalf of our 27,000 men and women PGA Professionals, we are asking them to seriously consider the impact this proposed ban may have on people's enjoyment of the game and the overall growth of the game."
The R&A and USGA will “consider any further comments and suggestions from throughout the golf community before making a final decision on the rule change.”