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Tuesday, May 21, 2013


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The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, have announced changes to the Rules of Golf that prohibit anchoring the club in making a stroke.
 

Prohibited Strokes

Anchoring

 

 

Permitted Strokes

Anchoring




Golf’s ruling bodies announced the long awaited and highly anticipated decision on Rule 14-1b, prohibiting the anchoring of a club in making a stroke. As what comes as no surprise belly-length and long putters remain conforming clubs to the rules of the game, however the way in which they are used must change. The R&A and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golf’s governing bodies, today announced the adoption of Rule 14-1b of the Rules of Golf that prohibits anchoring the club in making a stroke. The new Rule will take effect on January 1, 2016 in accordance with the regular four-year cycle for changes to the Rules of Golf. Rule 14-1b, which was proposed on November 28, 2012, has now been given final approval by The R&A and the USGA.

“We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organizations at all levels of the game. The report published today gives a comprehensive account of the reasons for taking the decision to adopt the new Rule and addresses the concerns that have been raised. We recognize this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf,” stated Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A.

“Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed Rule was announced, our best judgment is that Rule 14-1b is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game – that the player freely swing the entire club,” said USGA President Glen D. Nager. “The new Rule upholds the essential nature of the traditional method of stroke and eliminates the possible advantage that anchoring provides, ensuring that players of all skill levels face the same challenge inherent in the game of golf.”

David Rickman, Executive Director of Rules and Equipment Standards at The R&A, said, “This Rule change addresses the future and not the past. Everyone who has used an anchored stroke in the past, or who does so between now and 1 January 2016, will have played entirely within the Rules and their achievements will in no way be diminished.”

“The discussion around the Rule has been very helpful, and we appreciate that so many different perspectives were offered,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “We know that not everyone will agree with the new Rule, but it is our hope that all golfers will accept that this decision is reasoned and motivated by our best judgment in defining the sport and serving the best interests of the game.”

 

HERE is the LINK to the complete information: http://www.usga.org/news/2013/May/USGA,-R-A-Adopt-Rule-14-1b/


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Source:  http://www.golfchannel.com/news/ryan-lavner/governing-bodies-propose-ban-on-anchored-putting/

Phil Mickelson

Citing a “tremendous spike in usage” and “growing advocacy” among pros and instructors, golf’s governing bodies announced Wednesday that they have proposed a ban on anchored putting that would become effective January 2016.

“We’re not doing this because we said (anchoring) is a great advantage,” U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis told Golf Channel. “It may be advantageous for some, but this is fundamentally about what we think is the right thing for the game.

“Rules changes are about the future of the game, and we really do fundamentally think that defining a stroke is the right thing for the future.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Rule 14-1b is expected to be finalized this spring, after a 90-day window that will allow industry insiders to address any lingering concerns. But the new rule won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, when the next edition of the Rules of Golf is published.


USGA and R&A infographic: What's legal and illegal

Mell: USGA and R&A asleep at the wheel


“We’re not going into a 90-day comment period lightly,” R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said. “We want to listen to what people have to say, and if something new comes up, we will certainly consider it.

“But I would stress this is not a popularity contest, not an election. As the governing body we are doing what we think is best for the game of golf, and this is our responsibility.”

The unprecedented decision came as little surprise, after it was reported last month that Davis held a presentation at The McGladrey Classic to explain how a ban would be implemented and to ask players for their support. (The PGA and European tours are expected to follow the rules set forth by the sport’s governing bodies.)

The proposed rule states that during a stroke, a player cannot anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.” Among the prohibited strokes: a belly putter anchored against the stomach; anchored long putter to the sternum; the end of the club anchored against the chin; and an anchor point created by the forearm.

Worth noting: A stroke made with the putter resting against the forearm – a method used by Matt Kuchar – was deemed to be a form of grip, not anchoring, which is permitted by the USGA.

It is also important to note that the ban outlaws anchoring, not the putters themselves. So a player would still be able to use a long putter, so long as the butt of the handle is not affixed to a part of the body (chin, sternum, stomach, etc.).

This decision affects all levels of golf – from the recreational level to the professionals – as the governing bodies have decided against bifurcation, or separate rules for touring pros and amateurs.

“One of the great things about golf is that everybody plays under the same set of rules,” Davis said. “It really gives structure to the game. For those people who think we should bifurcate, I’m telling you, you haven’t thought through the ramifications. Once you open Pandora’s box, it will forever change the game. We are steadfast on this one. People who want to bifurcate don’t understand what they’re asking.”

Long putters have been around for decades, of course, but Davis said the percentage of players who have used the clubs have increased from about 2-4 percent in the 1980s and ’90s, to 6 percent from 2006-’10, to about 15 percent this season.

But the controversial issue has taken on heightened importance after three of the past five major winners won while using an anchored putter. Most recently, 14-year-old Tianlang Guan won the Asian Amateur (and thereby earned an invitation to The Masters) while wielding a belly putter, a club which he began using only six months prior, Dawson said.

Asked if this was merely a reaction to those recent successes, Dawson said emphatically, “This is not a major-championship issue. This has been about the upsurge in general usage.”

Added Davis, “We are looking to the future of the game and saying that we don’t think golf should be played this way.”

In 1991, Rocco Mediate became the first player to win a PGA Tour event with a long putter, and the club quickly gained popularity among the over-50 set on the Champions Tour. At that time, the long putter was viewed as a sign of weakness, an aid for players with back problems or putting woes.

No longer.

The narrative has shifted, the battle lines on this issue clearly drawn.

Those who support a ban – which includes Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer, among others – essentially claim that pressing the butt of the putter against the stomach, chin or sternum provides an unfair advantage because it reduces pressure and nerves while making a stroke. Webb Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open, rebuffed that notion, saying Tuesday, “Well, I was shaking in my boots on that last putt.”

Dawson, however, said that an anchored stroke “takes one of the frailties out of the stroke that is an inherent part of the game.”

Those against a ban point to the fact that none of the top 20 putters on the 2012 PGA Tour used an anchored putter, according to the Tour’s strokes gained-putting statistic. And they also contend that not only is the technique within the rules of the game – and has been for decades – it caused an uproar only after Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA), Simpson (’12 U.S. Open) and Ernie Els (’12 British) each won major championships while using a belly putter. There has been some suggestion that their accomplishments will now be viewed with a mythical asterisk.

“Absolutely not,” Dawson said. “They won fair and square with the rules that existed at the time.”

Does the debate end here? Hardly.

Players such as Carl Pettersson, Tim Clark and Simpson have each used the long putter since college. Anticipating this decision, however, Simpson revealed that he has already begun practicing with the conventional putter, and will use that club in tournament play “as soon as I feel ready.”

Though it had been previously reported that Bradley was prepared to challenge a potential ban, perhaps to the point of legal action, the 26-year-old squashed all notions Tuesday at the World Challenge. Yes, he will continue to use the belly putter until the ban is implemented, but added, “I have total respect for Mike Davis and the USGA, and they are doing what they think is best for the game, and I respect that.”

USGA

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group announced the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida has issued a preliminary injunction shutting down over 175 websites engaged in the sale of counterfeit golf products. The order marks one of the Golf Group’s most significant achievements in the fight against counterfeit golf merchandise sold via the Internet. Back in January it successfully disabled over 60 counterfeit websites.

 

The current lawsuit involves over 130 separate defendants operating more than 175 websites. The counterfeit golf merchandise previously featured on the subject websites included clubs, balls and accessories and visitors to these sites will now be redirected to a website displaying information regarding the preliminary injunction and other details of the legal action that is being taken. Both within the U.S. and abroad, the Golf Group has focused heavily on education and enforcement and is dedicated to curbing the manufacturing and sales of counterfeit golf products. It has worked on educating its consumers on how to spot and avoid fake golf products through its own website, www.keepgolfreal.com.

 

 FAQs
 

What is the group doing to get rid of counterfeiting in golf?
It comes down to two things education and enforcement. Since forming the anti-counterfeiting group we've worked with law enforcement officials around the world to conduct raids and to chase down those involved in this criminal activity.

Education may be even more important to our efforts because as long as people are willing to buy these fakes, counterfeiters will continue to make them. We are committed to educating golfers on the risks and pitfalls associated with these clubs. This website is just one part of our education efforts.

How are your efforts going?
In 2010, the group seized 25,000 counterfeit golf products with a value of more than $1 million. We continue to work with international agencies and law enforcement to combat USGA


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Monday, October 24, 2011


  USGA AND R&A ANNOUNCE NEW RULES OF GOLF FOR 2012

Significant changes include amended Rule on ball moving after address
First-ever joint publication of the Rules by golf’s governing bodies

Far Hills, N.J. (Oct. 24) - The United States Golf Association (USGA) and the R&A today announced the publication of the new Rules of Golf for 2012-15.

Changes in the Rules – which for the first time have been designed, published and presented jointly by golf’s governing bodies – include exonerating a player from penalty if it is known their ball was moved by the wind after address.

Following an exhaustive, four-year review of golf’s 34 playing Rules, nine principal Rules have been amended to improve clarity and ensure penalties are proportionate. Significant changes include:

  • Ball Moving After Address (Rule 18-2b). A new exception is added which exonerates the player from penalty if their ball moves after it has been addressed when it is known or virtually certain that they did not cause the ball to move. For example, if it is a gust of wind that moves the ball after it has been addressed, there is no penalty and the ball is played from its new position.
  • Ball in Hazard; Prohibited Actions (Rule 13-4). Exception 2 to this Rule is amended to permit a player to smooth sand or soil in a hazard at any time, including before playing from that hazard, provided it is for the sole purpose of caring for the course and Rule 13-2 (improving lie, area of intended stance or swing or line of play) is not breached.
  • Time of Starting (Rule 6-3a). The rule is amended to provide that the penalty for starting late, but within five minutes of the starting time, is reduced from disqualification to loss of the first hole in match play or two strokes at the first hole in stroke play. Previously this penalty reduction could be introduced as a condition of competition.

Commenting on the revisions to the Rules of Golf supported by Rolex, R&A Director of Rules and Equipment Standards David Rickman said: “The key point is that the Rules of Golf will remain fundamentally the same. We have undergone a pretty extensive review although what has come out of that has been relatively modest.

“The Rules of Golf are constantly evolving and our hope is that what we have produced for 2012 is clear, informed by common sense and reflective of the demands of the modern game.”

USGA Senior Director of Rules of Golf Thomas Pagel said: “We have produced a unified code of the Rules of Golf for 60 years and although the context has been the same, we often found the perception that there were different Rules in place depending upon where you were to play the game.

“Now the book will not only have the same content, but it will also be presented in a uniform fashion with similar formatting and covers; this will truly be a single code governing the Rules of the game that reflects the strong collaboration between The R&A and USGA.”

The most significant change (Rule 18-12b) will see an end to situations like the one witnessed during the final round of this year’s Open Championship when Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy was penalized when his ball was moved on the seventh green by the wind after he had addressed it.

Padraig Harrington, three-time Major winner and R&A-Working for Golf Ambassador, said: “I am delighted with the changes, in particular the ball moving after address. Every time the wind blows I am worried that my ball is going to move and I am worried about grounding my putter, distracting me from trying to hole my putt.

“This change will speed up play, there won’t be as many suspensions and players won’t be getting penalized or disqualified unfairly. It is definitely giving us players a little bit of a break.”

There has been a unified code of golf since 1952 but until now The R&A and the USGA have published the same rules in separate editions, thereby giving the impression to some that the rules were different. However, this year sees identical publications with only some spellings and respective logos changing depending whether the edition serves the U.S. and Mexico or the rest of the world.

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer welcomed the announcement of a jointly published edition of the Rules. He said: “What has happened with The R&A and the USGA is wonderful. In the years I have been associated with the game and got to know The R&A and what their efforts are and having lived with the USGA all my life, one of the things I have always thought we should be closer together.”

Notes to editors

  • The complete text of all changes to the Rules and video summaries of the changes can be found at www.usga.org.
  • The USGA will publish 2 million copies of the Rules of Golf 2012-15, with expected public availability in December 2011.
  • The R&A will publish in English a total of 2.6 million copies of the Rules of Golf 2012-15, with 1.8 million printed in the UK and 800,000 in Australia.

About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico. The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries.

For more information about the USGA, visit www.usga.org.

About The R&A
Based in St Andrews, The R&A organises The Open Championship, major amateur events and international matches. Together with the United States Golf Association, The R&A governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The R&A’s working jurisdiction is global, excluding the United States and Mexico.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the game internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities. The R&A operates with the consent of 143 organisations from the amateur and professional game and on behalf of over thirty million golfers in 128 countries.




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