An­chor Ban turns out to be no Big Deal

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

At the height of an­chor­ing, in­ter­est in it on tour and among the masses was not as a mat­ter of last re­sort, but as a more ef­fi­cient way to putt – some­thing the R&A’s Peter Daw­son cited as largely the im­pe­tus for the rule pro­hibit­ing the an­chored stroke that went into ef­fect a year ago.

Now, with a full year of non-an­chored putting com­plete, the ques­tion might be asked, “Was it re­ally a bet­ter way?” The stats seem to in­di­cate any im­proved per­for­mance from an­chor­ing was vir­tu­ally nonex­is­tent .Those who were good put­ters be­fore con­tin­ued to putt well, and those that strug­gled con­tin­ued to have trou­ble find­ing the hole.

At the last full-field PGA Tour event of 2015 (The Bar­clays), seven play­ers on tour to­day an­chored: Kee­gan Bradley, Tim Clark, Brian Har­man, David Hearn, Carl Pet­ters­son, Adam Scott and Webb Simp­son. Har­man and Hearn ranked among the top 50 in strokes gained/ putting and re­mained there (Har­man ris­ing from 47th to 15th); Scott (pic­tured), Simp­son, Bradley and Clark were all out­side the top 125 and re­mained there. Scott im­proved mod­estly, Bradley got some­what worse, and Clark didn’t play enough events (just two in Jan­uary 2016) to draw a rea­son­able con­clu­sion.The one anom­aly: Pet­ters­son, who was 31st in 2015 but dropped more than 100 places last sea­son.

And what about Bern­hard Langer? The PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons stal­wart barely moved his Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Long put­ter away from his body (caus­ing some, early in the year, to in­sist he was still an­chor­ing) and went on to rank sec­ond in putting av­er­age – an im­pres­sive ac­com­plish­ment given that he led the tour in greens in reg­u­la­tion. (He led the tour in putting av­er­age and GIR the year be­fore.)

“I prac­tised a great deal,” said Langer. “Spent many weeks, months, lots of hours on the putting green, try­ing dif­fer­ent tech­niques, but also work­ing with the long put­ter non-an­chored. I came to the con­clu­sion that in the short term, it’s def­i­nitely the eas­i­est for me to use the long put­ter non-an­chored.” Ap­par­ently so. Langer won the tour’s sea­son-long Charles Sch­wab Cup for the third con­sec­u­tive year, and has taken his num­ber of vic­to­ries on the se­nior tour to 30, sec­ond only to Hale Ir­win’s 45 wins.

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