I hate to say I told you so, but it is looking as though the Courts could be the final arbiter of the whole anchored putting fiasco.
At the Colonial this week, Tim Clark told reporters:
“If there really was a ‘comment period,’ we all know it was all smoke and mirrors. Their minds were made up.
We do have legal counsel. We’re going to explore our options. We’re not going to just roll over and accept this.”
This is exactly what I feared with this ruling. From their statement earlier today, it’s pretty clear to me that golf’s ruling bodies have their backs up and their blinders on. They are adamant that anchoring is a threat to golf as we know it, and that other considerations are trivial or nonexistent. At the same time, however, they continue to deny what any public golfer knows—that bifurcation already exists.
So now we may go to the courts. Clark is just waiting to see if the PGA TOUR follows the lead of the USGA and R&A in playing their cards.
I don’t know why the PGA TOUR can’t have its own rules. NFL football rules are different from NCAA. Major League Baseball has variants in rules between the National and American leagues. No one argues about the purity of football rules. And aside from a few crackpots, people have largely accepted the DH.
But that’s not really the issue. For me, I worry that golf’s ruling bodies have just further separated themselves from the masses they purport to represent. I just don’t see how this is “For The Good Of The Game.” It will instead just foster more disregard for the rules and further the bifurcation process that already is underway. Denying that something exists does not make it go away.
2 thoughts on “Clark Says He’s Not Going To Roll Over and Bifurcation”
How sad would it be if the USGA had to spend significant sums of money defending themselves in a situation that never had to occur. As you so correctly pointed out, there are much bigger fish to fry than a few players anchoring a club.
If I were a consultant to the USGA, I would tell them that their biggest problem is irrelevancy. As private clubs continue to decline, there is a large mass of golfers who have never even heard of the USGA except in the context of the US Open, don’t have handicaps, and don’t play by USGA rules. I know many people who are surprised to learn that the US Open isn’t owned by the PGA Tour. I have talked to a couple of golf course managers who tell me that they are actually grateful that players don’t use USGA rules … if every slicer who lost a ball returned to the last spot, rounds would be ten hours, not five. The same would be true if every golfer played every ball as it lies, given less than country club conditions.
I would be interested in a study of truly average golfers to determine the impact of the USGA on their golfing lives.
The USGA has amassed $300,000,000 of surplus funds in preparation for any potential fight. They have carefully developed a strategy (Rule versus Equipment) in order to avoid falling into a trap similar to the Ping “square groove” fiasco. I don’t see any challenge by a player or group of players succeeding.
Ultimately, spending time & money on this issue is ridiculous. There are so many other problems facing golf: environmental concerns, water usage, lack of growth, pace of pace of play, to name a few. Come on USGA, work on problems that the 99% of us face, not the 1%.