This anchored putter controversy on the senior circuit refuses to die. It could be because Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron are using their questionable strokes for terrific scores and wins. Plus, they are 1st and 2nd in putting average.
Anyway, Golfweek.com’s Eamon Lynch reports on the field’s issues with these two and if what or anything will be done to address it.
Last year McCarron and Langer combined for 11 wins, five second-places, 30 top-10s and more than $6.3 million in prize money. Theirs were dominating performances. The only man over age 50 who put pressure on them was Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who in July was sharply critical of the “appalling” enforcement of the USGA’s recently adopted rule against anchoring the putter. The rule’s wording basing penalties on a player’s “intent” to anchor was a “get out of jail” card, Chamblee claimed.
Both McCarron and Langer use long putters held close to their sternum. Both insist they don’t anchor, and tour officials agree. They finished first and second in putting average on tour last year, giving fellow competitors 6.3 million reasons to stew.
“Brandel and I have been friends for a long time,” McCarron says. “I’ve worked in the TV business. I know you say things sometimes you aren’t really sure about. And he usually does his homework. He’s very diligent. This time he missed the boat.”
“It’s a huge issue,” says Tom Pernice Jr., a five-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions. “A lot of players aren’t going to say anything about it to the press. It’s not fair. If you’re playing for a living, there’s a skill level in putting and that is being able to control the fulcrum point.”
Pernice insists that a putter does not have to be touching the sternum to aid the stroke: “It’s close enough that he has a reference for his fulcrum point, OK? That’s close enough,” he says. “That hand, it cannot be touching when he starts, but at some point in the stroke it can rub up against his shirt and that’s within the rule. In my opinion that’s enough of a reference to be able to control the fulcrum point.”
Question is would the interpretation change if Langer and McCarron were in their prime on the regular PGA Tour? Meaning, what would happen if the struggling Adam Scott’s career was resurrected by using the same putting stroke?
If nothing else–and even though the duo are winning in regular fashion–the insinuations have to grate on ya.