Keegan Bradley lost in the first round so he was not around for Sunday’s finale of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. The 2011 PGA champ, however, was apparently watching the proceedings from afar when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem interrupted the action to announce his opposition to the USGA’s proposed anchored-putting ban.
“Proud to be a @PGATour player today,” @Keegan_Bradley tweeted Sunday night, just after Finchem went on Golf Channel and NBC to declare his aversion to the plan that would outlaw the way Bradley and several other tour players maneuver their putters.
Finchem broke into the final round of the match play tourney to proclaim the tour had formally advised the USGA and R&A of its opposition to their proposal to outlaw the anchored strokes.
“Essentially where the PGA Tour came down was that they did not think that banning anchoring was in the best interest of golf or the PGA Tour,” Finchem said after averring that the putting method did not provide Bradley and others competitive advantages and that it was wrong to prohibit an approach the USGA had previously approved.
“I think there are a number of factors here … but I think the essential thread that went through the thinking of the players and our board of directors and others that looked at this was that in the absence of data or any basis to conclude that there is a competitive advantage to be gained by using anchoring, and given the amount of time that anchoring has been in the game, that there was no overriding reason to go down that road.”
Finchem clearly had the backs of those in the belly brigade — including Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els, the winners of three of the last five major championships.
“Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson don’t have the yips,” Finchem told NBC’s Johnny Miller during the network’s telecast of the match play event, which Matt Kuchar won. (Kuchar, interestingly, employs a long putter but does not anchor it; instead, he places the shaft against his left forearm.)
The anchored putting stroke has “been around for a generation and the game of golf has done quite well,” Finchem said. “So unless you have a compelling reason to change it, you shouldn’t.”
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer