On the eve of an announcement expected to involve the legality of anchoring the putter -- golf's governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, are holding a joint teleconference this morning -- Tiger Woods again made his view on the subject perfectly clear.
"I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves, and having it as a fixed point, as I was saying all year, is something that's not in the traditions of the game," Woods said Tuesday during a news conference for this week's World Challenge, of which he is the defending champion and host. "We swing all other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same. It should be a swinging motion throughout the entire bag."
The issue has been in the spotlight since Keegan Bradley became the first player to anchor his putter en route to winning a major championship, the 2011 PGA Championship. Webb Simpson followed suit in the 2012 U.S. Open, and Ernie Els made it three anchoring winners in four majors when he won the 2012 British Open. As well, more amateurs, including juniors, have taken to anchoring.
The R&A's chief executive, Peter Dawson, said the recent upsurge in the use of anchored putting strokes -- whether to the belly, to the chest or under the chin -- brought the subject into renewed focus.
"I don't know if there's any statistical data on it, but I'm sure there is somewhere, about whether or not anchoring the putter does help on a certain range of putts, especially the guys who have gotten the twitches a little bit," Woods said.
Bradley, on the other side of the putter, said he wouldn't be happy with a decision to ban anchoring. But he said he wouldn't be looking up a lawyer in the Yellow Pages, either. It was reported in October that Bradley would look into all avenues to fight a ban, including a lawsuit.
"I never said that. I never said the word 'sue.' I never said the words 'legal action.' Somehow it got twisted around into that," Bradley said. "I have total respect for (executive director) Mike Davis and the USGA, and they are doing what they think is best for the game, and I respect that. That doesn't mean that I'm happy with the decision, but I respect what they're trying to do.
"They're definitely not trying to make the game worse, I know that."
Chip in: Woods won't join the European Tour, even though it has made changes to its qualifications for membership, now allowing players to count the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the Seve Trophy toward the 13 events needed.
The move prompted speculation that Woods would seek membership and play both the European and PGA tours.
"I enjoy playing around the world, and I still always will," Woods said. "But I am going to play (the PGA) Tour."
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