The PGA Tour last night announced it will implement the ban on anchored strokes due to come into effect in 2016, ending fears of a destructive split in golf — at least for now.
The R&A and USGA, the game’s governing bodies, approved Rule 14-1b in May after the 90-day consultation process.
The European Tour supported the proposal, but the PGA Tour and PGA of America had previously voiced strong opposition, raising the possibility of different rules being followed in different events.
The PGA Tour runs the lucrative American circuit and plays a dominant role in staging World Golf Championship events, while the PGA of America organise the US PGA Championship and American Ryder Cup team.
Traditionally they adopt the rules of golf as determined by the R&A and USGA, who run the British Open Championship and US Open respectively.
In May, the PGA Tour said it would discuss the matter with its Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members and, having done so yesterday, it announced it would “allow” the ban.
A PGA Tour statement read: “The PGA Tour Policy Board today acknowledged that the USGA’s ban on anchored strokes, known as Rule 14-1b, will apply to PGA Tour competitions beginning on January 1, 2016.
“In making this acknowledgement, the Policy Board also passed a resolution strongly recommending, along with the PGA of America, that the USGA consider extending the time period in which amateurs would be permitted to utilise anchored strokes beyond January 1, 2016.
“PGA Tour competitions are conducted in accordance with the USGA Rules of Golf. However, the Board reserves the right to make modifications for PGA Tour competitions if it deems it appropriate.”
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said: “In making its decision, the Policy Board recognised that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour.
“The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion.”
Despite implementing the ban, Finchem urged the USGA and R&A to allow amateurs to use anchored strokes beyond 2016 in a similar manner in which the rule on “square” grooves was brought in.
And he stressed that the PGA Tour may not always follow every rule which is decided upon.
“The Policy Board continues to believe that extending the time period the ban would go into effect for amateurs would be beneficial for golf participation and the overall health of the game,” Finchem added.
“It is not inconceivable that there may come a time in the future when the Policy Board determines that a rule adopted by the USGA, including in the area of equipment, may not be in the best interests of the PGA Tour and that a local rule eliminating or modifying such a USGA rule may be appropriate.
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