Sunday, February 24, 2013

PGA Tour Opposes Anchoring Ban - Umm, Duh?

            The speculation since the last Player Advisory Committee meeting is over.  Commissioner Tim Finchem has officially announced the PGA Tour’s opposition to the proposed anchoring ban.  The USGA, by my count, now has 4 more days of silence before they are allowed to speak again.  Mike Davis stated the USGA would not speak publicly during the 90 day comment period (about anchoring, the Four-Ball/Public Links announcement doesn’t count) and the USGA has kept their word.  Right toward the end of that comment period, several organizations have also kept their word in providing their opinions for consideration.
            To tally, the PGA of America via President Ted Bishop, the National Golf Course Owner’s Association and the PGA Tour have now officially made statements against the anchoring ban.  The LPGA has remained relatively silent and has not taken a stance, which is actually quite refreshing.
            This isn’t really unexpected news but I want to point out several things from Tim Finchem’s “press conference” or “gathering” as he called it, that I think have been previously overlooked or are extremely important.
The PGA Tour and PGA of America have representation on the USGA/R&A Rules Committee.  If I hear one more person talking about amateurs making rules for professionals I’m going to backhand them into 1840.  It’s time we realize that professionals are on the Rules Committee as well, and the members of that Committee are not only experts in the Rules, but they are experts in the history of the Rules and the history of the game in general.  They don’t make these decisions lightly.  And please, PLEASE don’t let me hear you talk about the USGA Executive Committee making this call – they have nothing to do with it (ok, not nothing, but they aren’t making the final call).

Commissioner Finchem claims that the discussion of bifurcation hasn’t even begun.  I’m sorry Tim, I don’t believe you.  That statement, however, draws a clear line in the sand that is very important for golf: we don’t agree with this ban, but if you go forward with it I’m not saying we will or will not abide by it yet.  Let’s not pretend the discussion on bifurcation is yet to begin, but let’s take his words for what they are - wiggle room.

So now enjoy the made for TV version of the announcement coming in 15 minutes during the Accenture Match Play final and make of it what you will.  The USGA will break the silence soon enough.

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