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Colin Montgomerie says golf in danger over proposed putting ban

Updated: Monday, 25 Feb 2013 13:36 | Comments

Webb Simpson is a recent major championship winner who uses an anchored putting technique
Webb Simpson is a recent major championship winner who uses an anchored putting technique

Colin Montgomerie has warned of the dangers golf faces now that the PGA Tour in America has said it is against the proposed ban on anchored putters.

"This has opened up a whole new can of worms," Europe's former Ryder Cup captain said.

"It's a very dangerous situation we are getting ourselves into and I do hope they can sort this out very, very quickly."

The sport's ruling bodies face one of their most difficult decisions ever in the coming weeks.

The Royal and Ancient Club and United States Golf Association had announced their intentions in November after three of the last five major championships were won by Ernie Els, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley using long putters.

But their final decision on whether to impose the ban from 2016 was delayed, probably until next month, to allow for all interested parties to let their feelings be known.

"You can't point to one negative impact of anchoring" - Tim Finchem

Now they know, with Tour commissioner Tim Finchem revealing that 13 of the 15 members of his Player Advisory Council were not in favour of the ban.

The PGA of America has also stated objections, believing such a move is not in the best interests of the game.

"I thought, as we all did, that the rules of golf were set by the R&A and the USGA. Tim Finchem has obviously thought otherwise," added Montgomerie on Sky Sports.

"Whether the European Tour think that or not has to be debated too.

"I think we should go with what the R&A and USGA feel. Whether the long putter should have been banned 20 years ago or not, it should be banned now.

"We should abide by that. To now go against that and say 'my players aren't going to go by that' then what happens when you come to USGA events or the British Open?

"Does that mean you have to use a different club?

"He's said 'we abide by the rules of golf, but I think we are going to change this one'.

"Does that mean other rules can change as well? We want to play as one under the same rules.

"The R&A and USGA have served the game of golf for a long, long time and long may that continue."

"Does that mean other rules can change as well?" - Colin Montgomerie

What the PGA Tour has not done yet, however, is say what it will do if the ban is approved.

Finchem said: "I don't know because we have, I think carefully and intentionally, avoided at this point getting into a discussion about that issue.

"We have not even begun that discussion.

"This is a very subjective area. Everybody has an opinion about it and we certainly respect everybody's opinion.

"The PGA of America has concluded that it will hurt the game with certain numbers of amateurs. We agree with that.

"One thing we know for sure on the professional side is the professional game globally is stronger than it's ever been today and that on the heels of having anchoring as part of it for the last 30 or 40 years.

"It certainly hasn't been a negative. You can't point to one negative impact of anchoring."

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