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"If I felt I was cheating, I wouldn't be using it." -- Tim Clark

PGA: Anchor(ing) away

To reiterate what the Blob has said before: I don't get golf.

Its seemingly capricious decisions. Its obsession with minutiae. Its OCD insistence on clinging to outmoded ways of thinking like a man clinging to a deck chair as the Titanic goes down.

Case in point: The sport's ruling bodies' decision to ban the so-called anchoring of the so-called long or "belly" putter.

Offering not a shred of empirical evidence that it confers any unfair edge -- what, you couldn't look up Tour putting stats to at least add a fig leaf of statistical analysis to a totally subjective decision? -- they've decreed that "anchoring" should not a part of the game of golf. That golfers have been doing it for years without visibly desecrating the game didn't enter into the equation at all.

In which case, I'm with Tim Clark and Masters winner Adam Scott, two long-putters who happen to be as right about this as sunshine on a cloudy day.

"What we have here is a different method of putting," Clark said in March. "It's not wrong. It's not against the values of the game. It's still a stroke. People who come out and say, 'It's not a stroke, you don't get nervous,' I can't believe that. I've been using it for 15 years. I get nervous. I miss putts under pressure. Putting essentially will always come down to 99 percent brain and mindset and confidence.

"If I felt I was cheating, I wouldn't be using it."

Scott, meanwhile, said this: "Now we're making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? Incredible. What did they think when they allowed it? You're dealing with professional athletes who are competitive, who want to find better ways. ... What do they think when they've got supertalented golfers putting in thousands of hours of practice with a long putter, short putter, sand wedge, whatever? It was just a matter of time. They're going to get good."

Absolutely, and exact-o-lutely. And since we're dealing with subjectivity here and not hard evidence, let me offer my own: I've tried anchoring a belly putter (and I've got the belly to do it, rimshot, please). And you want to know something?

It's no advantage. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I found it awkward and unwieldy, and it made it more difficult to line up putts. Much less comfortable, and less effective, than using a traditional putting stroke with a traditional putter.

So why this rule?

Ben Smith's blog.

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