By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MARANA, Ariz. -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem announced Sunday that the TOUR has formally told the USGA and the R&A it opposes the proposed ban on anchored strokes.
Finchem said the TOUR didn't come to its decision without considerable consultation with its player advisory council and board of directors, as well as meetings with USGA officials to discuss the reasoning behind the proposal.
The key factors in the decision were the lack of evidence to support the contention that anchoring provides a competitive advantage, as well as the length of time the practice has been allowed -- and previously approved on two different occasions.
"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, adding that both the PGA of America and the Golf Course Owners Association came to the same conclusion.
"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 said the TOUR has not begun to think about next steps if the USGA and R&A implement the ban.
"Our regulations provide that we will follow the rules as promulgated by the USGA provided, however, we retain the right not to in certain instances if we see fit," he said. "But we have not even begun that discussion. All we've done is done what we were asked to do, which is to give them our best input and advice on that particular initiative. That's a different question, and it would be speculative for me to guess where that might come out."
Finchem said he wanted to make it clear that this disagreement was not a "donnybrook" with the PGA TOUR and PGA of America on one side the the USGA and R&A on the other. He noted the organizations have worked together repeatedly on rules issues, as well as partnered in the creation of the World Golf Foundation and World Rankings Board, as well as in the Olympic movement.
The PGA TOUR holds the USGA in the "highest regard" as a key part of the game of golf, Finchem said. The two organizations just happen to disagree on this issue and the TOUR thinks it would be a mistake to move forward with the ban.
"I felt like it was important to speak to that and make sure that we understood that this is part of a process at this point," Finchem said. "There's no reason to assume that everybody is going to go down different paths. I just want to try to calm that sense down. I think we ought to be able to have a discussion about this and come to conclusions without negativity."