As if the new-look Royal Calcutta Golf Club course and the recent bout of flu wasn't enough, Anirban Lahiri will soon have to rework his putting as the USPGA and the R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club) on Wednesday announced a ban on the use of anchored strokes.
The rule will prohibit strokes made with the club or a hand gripping the club held directly against the player's body or with a forearm held against the body that indirectly anchors the club. This means strokes like a belly putter anchored against the stomach, anchored long putter to the sternum, the end of the club anchored against the chin and an anchor point created by the forearm will all be banned.
Lahiri and Rahil Gangjee, who played in USA last year, were seen using the long putter anchored against the forearm during the McLeod Russel Tour Championship that reached halfway state here on Thursday with Shamim Khan at six-under overall, taking a one-stroke lead over overnight leader Mukesh Kumar.
The rule doesn't come into effect till January 1, 2016, when the next edition of the Rules of Golf is published, which gives golfers enough time to get back to conventional putting. But the fact that a lot of players have benefited from the grip is reflected in statistics on the PGA Tour. The use of long putters have increased from about 2 to 4% in the 80s and 90s, to 6% from 2006 to 10, to about 15% this season.
Gangjee, who picked up the grip just two months back and has seen significant improvement in putting since, feels the new rule won't affect him much. "I will continue with the grip till 2015. The switch won't be that difficult."
SSP Chowrasia, who tried that grip last year in Europe and failed and now has switched back to normal putting, though felt that the ban was not right.