Golf notebook: USGA won't budge on new putting rule
The Sports Xchange
By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
--The United States Golf Association will not enact an extension of the ban on anchored putters beyond 2016 for recreational players, the association announced.
Ted Bishop, president of the PGA of America, and Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner, made the proposal to extend the ban on anchoring for recreational amateurs at the USGA's annual meeting last month.
"While we are disappointed with the USGA's decision not to extend the implementation date beyond Jan. 1, 2016, I know that all PGA professionals are committed to helping amateur players choose a permissible putting stroke that will help them continue to enjoy the game well into the future," Bishop wrote.
The USGA released the following statement: "After further discussion among our executive committee and leadership, the USGA's judgment continues to be that it is in the best interests of the game for Rule 14-1b to take effect for all golfers on January 1, 2016. The USGA is committed to working with the PGA of America and its members, as they will be instrumental in supporting golfers through the transition and implementation of the Rule."
Bishop told golfchannel.com that he believes it is time to move on.
"I can't say I am surprised," Bishop said. "I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt; it was about a month from the time we made the presentation, and I felt like they gave it fair consideration."
Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els and Adam Scott won major championships using anchored putters in recent years, which many people believe led to the anchoring ban.
The ban was proposed by the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in November 2012, and after a 90-day comment period, the ruling bodies of golf announced last May that it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
--Patrick Rodgers of Stanford, who is No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, announced that he would turn pro in June at the end of his junior season.
The 21-year-old from Avon, Ind., who will be a senior academically before the end of his third year on The Farm, said that he eventually will return to school to earn his degree.
"I want to formally announce that my intention for the future is to turn professional at the end of this season," Rodgers said. "I came to this decision with a clear understanding of the impact it might have, and had countless conversations with my parents and coach weighing the options and ensuring I made the best decision.
"The reason for coming out with this announcement now is (that) over the past year, there has been growing speculation of what my plans would be. I thought I owed it to the team, to coach (Conrad) Ray, and Stanford University to get ahead of the situation and come out with it now in order for it to not become a distraction for myself or the team. ...
"I want to put all of the focus on trying to win a national championship for the team."
Rodgers recently claimed his seventh individual victory for the Cardinal in the Prestige at PGA West, tying Joel Kribel for second on the all-time Stanford list behind Tiger Woods, who won 11 titles.
The two-time All-American is Stanford's career scoring average leader at 70.55 strokes per round, with Woods second at 70.96.
"The numbers speak for themselves," said Ray, who was a teammate of Woods at Stanford. "He's one of the best college golfers we've ever had. It's bittersweet for me, because as a coach and a guy that values his role on the team, we're going to hate losing him. ...