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USGA confirm ban on anchored putters

In news that will be greeted with much dismay in the Bradley, Scott and Simpson households, the USGA, in conjunction with the Royal & Ancient, have confirmed they are outlawing the anchored putting stroke from the start of 2016.

The new law, titled Rule 14-1b, prohibits players from anchoring a club against their bodies.

''We strongly believe that this rule is for the betterment of the game,'' USGA President Glen Nager said. ''Rule 14-1b protects one of the important challenges in the game - the free swing of the entire club.''

Nager's counterpart at the R&A, chief executive Peter Dawson, admitted this was a decision that had caused some dissension amongst the ranks of golf.

''We recognize this has been a divisive issue, but after thorough consideration, we remain convinced that this is the right decision for golf,'' Dawson said.

The move will not go down well with the PGA Tour and PGA of America who had previously said through PGA chief Tim Finchem that there was "no overriding reason" for outlawing the anchored putters.

While the organisers have called on all sides to join together to move forward and past the issue, the PGA Tour's response suggested that the matter was not settled as far as they were concerned.

"We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation," a PGA Tour statement said.

"We will announce our position regarding the application of Rule 14-1b to our competitions upon conclusion of our process and we will have no further comment on the matter until that time."

Major-winning players who use belly putters such as Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott chose not to comment on the announcement, although they had been vociferous in their condemnation of any ban prior to the press conference.

Instead it was left to the players who supported the ban to have the final say, for now. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Arnold Palmer are all those in favour of the new ruling.

Nine-time major winner Gary Player was delighted by the news: "The long putter allows you to hide your nerves and nerves are an integral part of the game of golf."

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