Tour News

New Rule Needed for Putter, Says Els

Ernie Els has reverted to a short putter.
Almost two and a half years since the anchoring ban was implemented by golf’s governing bodies, Presidents Cup International Team captain Ernie Els says new rules changes are needed regarding the putter. 

Speaking on a PGA of Australia teleconference to promote his involvement as a player in August’s Fiji International, Els said the R&A and USGA should place a limit on the length of the putter.

“If you want to take away the anchored method, then write a rule that it’s got to be the shortest club in the bag, it’s got to be shorter than your sand iron or your driver or whatever the case may be and get on with it because then nobody’s going to come back to that method,” Els said.

“Until that is written in print in the rules then guys can go back to that method and just keep it away from their chest a little bit.”

Adam Scott – a likely member of Els’ Presidents Cup team late next year at Royal Melbourne – recently returned to using a broomstick putter on the PGA Tour by holding the club marginally away from his chest while putting which, as Els stressed, is completely within the rules.

Senior tour players Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron have employed a similar – and also legal – technique on the Champions Tour.

Els – who won the 2012 Open Championship using a belly putter – has long been a vocal opponent of the R&A and USGA’s decision to outlaw anchoring as of January 2016 and his own world ranking has fallen significantly to its current position of 667th.

Under rule 14-1b of the R&A’s rules, a golfer is allowed to press the club or a gripping hand against any part of their body while making a stroke as long as it is not intentional.

(Note: Under rule 14-1b a golfer is allowed to deliberately “hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm”.)

“The way that they went about changing this rule is really appalling,” the 48-year-old said.

“It’s amazing how they changed the rule but it’s not really changed, it’s just, as you say, with a millimetre from you, you can use it and that’s within the rules.”

“You shouldn’t take it to the player, you should go to the R&A and USGA and the way they write these things.

“Whether you think it’s controversial or not, Adam Scott, Scott McCarron, these guys going back to this method, they’re within the rules of the game so there’s no argument there.”

The South African golf legend is competing at this week’s Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour and has made plans to hold a ‘Presidents Cup meeting’ at the US Open is two weeks’ time.

“I want to show them how enthusiastic I am,” he said.

“I’ve paid my dues and I want to show the guys that I really feel for them and I want to win the Cup back.”


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