Tour News

Anchor controversy late in Sony Open

THE Sony Open was nearly embroiled in controversy late on Sunday, when a Zac Blair shot was reviewed to see if he'd anchored his club.

THE thrilling finish to the PGA Tour's Sony Open at Waialae Country Club was almost made even more dramatic, when one of the players in contention at the death was cited for a suspected anchored stroke.

American Zac Blair was in the hunt with eventual champion Fabian Gomez and runner-up Brandt Snedeker when he addressed his ball on the fringe of the par-3 17th on Sunday afternoon in Honolulu.

In order to get clean contact with the ball Blair opted to use his 3-wood, the longer club looking to come perilously close to being anchored to the American's stomach in close-up replays.

Blair's birdie try narrowly missed, before Gomez birdied 17 and 18 in the group ahead to go two strokes clear of Blair.

While the American was lining up a four-metre eagle attempt on the 18th green, thanks to a sensational 256m approach from the fairway, television broadcasters announced that Blair's stroke on the previous hole was being reviewed by rules officials to ensure its legality.

Replays were immediately shown of the top of Blair's 3-wood grip seemingly brushing against his shirt, though it was not conspicuously coming into contact with his stomach.

The broadcasters were quick to include that Blair would not be interrupted during his eagle attempt or before his round was completed.

Before a verdict was delivered on the broadcast, Blair's eagle putt to force a playoff with Gomez missed to ensure the outcome of the tournament wouldn't be affected by the outcome of the review.

A short time later it was broadcast that Blair had been cleared of any wrong-doing, but the incident will have surely had many at the PGA Tour worried about the possibility of a controversial finish to the Sony Open.


Restrictions on implementing an anchored putting stroke came into play on the first day of 2016, with players now unable to have any part of any club resting against their body, acting like a pivot.

There has already been some controversy in 2016 relating to the new rules, with golf's famous 'Secret Tour Pro' (a Twitter account allegedly controlled by a pro golfer) calling out Japan's Shingo Katayama late last week for an apparent anchored stroke.

Images emerged of the 29-time Japan Tour winner resting his right arm and elbow against his body while putting, leaving many wondering once again what is and isn't legal.

With clothes of players' likely to keep sagging down as they hunch over their ball at address, it is safe to assume the issue of a club appearing to be anchored to a player's body will rear its ugly head in the very near future.

Thankfully on Sunday in Honolulu, no one was stripped of a title due to a controversial ruling.




Photo: Joey Ratcliffe

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