WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Monday's announcement out of a brief meeting of the PGA Tour Policy Board might not have been welcomed, but it certainly wasn't unexpected.
The PGA Tour opted to follow the lead of the USGA and golf's governing body, the R&A (Royal and Ancient Club), to ban anchored strokes beginning Jan. 1, 2016, taking away the ability of players to use their body to anchor a putting motion.
Although players have two-plus years to change the way they putt, some golfers didn't take the news well.
"Obviously I'm disappointed," said Carl Pettersson, who will tee off at 12:50 p.m. Thursday from the No. 10 tee at the fourth annual Greenbrier Classic. "I've used one for 16 years, but, rules are rules and I'll just have to adapt."
The PGA Tour announced that the USGA's ban on anchored strokes, known as Rule 14-1b, will apply to PGA Tour competitions.
"In making its decision, the Policy Board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership, but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour," Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a press release. "The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion."
The USGA and R&A announced the proposed ban back in November 2012, then, following a comment period, the governing bodies announced on May 21 that the ban would go into effect on the first day of 2016.
However, according to Adam Schupak of GolfWeek, the PGA Tour board asked the USGA to consider prolonging the anchored putting ban on amateurs to 2024 instead of 2016.
The opinions on its affect on the growth of the game and the play of golfers are varying.
Pettersson - a five-time winner on the PGA Tour - is one of a handful of players in the 156-player Classic field to utilize the long putter, anchoring it either to their sternum or belly - hence, the name "belly putter."
"Sixteen years is a long time, but I'll see it as a challenge and get on with it," said the 35-year-old Pettersson, who turned pro in 2000 and hasn't used a standard putting strategy since he was an amateur.
When 13-time West Virginia Amateur champion Pat Carter switched to the belly putter last year, he wanted to know what all the hubbub was about.
"It's not an issue," said Carter, who is 45 years old and earned his spot in the Classic field via his 13th State Amateur title last year. "I always was a good putter. Everyone was doing it, so I said I'm going to try it. I probably have improved a little bit. But, if I go back to the short putter, I'll have improved with that. I think it does help your stroke."