With a decision on the future of anchored putters imminent, Ernie Els says there is not enough evidence to support ridding his belly putter.
The USGA and R&A allowed for a 90-day comment period when revealing its new proposal at the end of 2012 to outlaw a stroke in which the putter is anchored to the body.
Although the new proposal would not become effective until 2016, the reigning Open champion is hoping the authorities have a change of heart by letting players continue anchoring putters to their body.
“Hopefully they don’t ban it,” said Els, who become the third winner in the last five majors to use a belly putter.
“There’s no data that really conforms that they have to ban it. If there were 90% of the guys using it, or if the guys using it were top of the putting stats, guys making more putts from 20-feet, more putts from 4-feet… Give me something to go by to really make me believe that you have to ban it.
“I can’t see them having a really great way of explaining to me why they would want to ban it.”
Els believes etching his name on the Claret Jug for a second time in a decade was a huge influence on the proposed rule, occurring just several weeks after Webb Simpson used the fire in his belly to clinch maiden major glory at the US Open.
“Before Webb won, I saw a quote from [USGA executive director] Mike Davis saying they don’t see the great benefit, that they don’t see that there’s any importance of banning the putter,” he added.
“And then Webb wins, and I win, and then the next thing is they want to ban it. So in all honesty, I’m not too sure what their whole reason is behind this whole thing.
“There’s a handful of guys using it. It’s helped some careers. Some guys cannot putt another way, so there’s some stuff that you have to follow through.”
Els is correct. When Mike Davis was appointed executive director in April 2011, he told the Golf Channel that the USGA ‘don’t see this as a big trend’.
“It’s not as if all the junior golfers out there are doing this,” he said. “No one’s even won a major using of these things anchored to themselves. So we don’t see this as something that is really detrimental to the game.”
More on the anchored putting ban
R&A and USGA ban anchored putting
What the pros are saying on the ruling
What the amateurs are saying on the ruling
A brief history of long putters
Poulter: Belly putters? Ban ‘em!
TaylorMade boss: Anchor ban makes no sense
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