May 26, 2013

Golf: Putter ruling made, but not everyone is pleased

By Tom Chard
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Jeff Seavey, one of the top golfers in Maine, has used the anchored putter since 2003, but remains just as sharp with the short putter.

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PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said about the ruling: "There was no overriding reason to go down that road."

"We knew this was coming," said Randy Hodsdon, director of tournament rules and competition for the Maine State Golf Association. "The $64 question is going to be will the PGA Tour break ranks and play by their own rules? "

Hodsdon echoes the PGA Tour commissioner's sentiments: "If it isn't broke, don't fix it. Nothing is broken. There are other bigger fish to fry."

Hodsdon feels the ruling was European driven.

"When Ernie Els won the British Open, that was the straw the broke the camel's back,"

Adding fuel have been other recent major wins by anchored putters. Keegan Bradley was the first to win a major in the 2011 PGA Championship. That was followed by Webb Simpson's victory at the 2012 U.S. Open, Els' win at the British and Adam Scott's victory in the Masters.

The best putters on the PGA Tour still putt conventionally, but the recent wins in majors shined more attention on anchored putting. Hodsdon and Waterville Country Club head pro Don Roberts don't think the USGA ruling will have an effect on the recreational player. The ones who use long putters will still use them.

"We have 450 golfing members and maybe five of them use long putters," said Roberts. "They play with their buddies. They're not playing in USGA events. The USGA is just enforcing a rule that hasn't been enforced."

Warren said it will be interesting to see what the PGA Tour does.

He feels the Tour won't wait long to act.

TEE TO GREEN: Ryan Gay, a three-time Maine Amateur champion, was fourth in the Big East championship last month. Playing his senior season at St. John's in New York, Gay, of Pittston, was named to the All-Big East first team. He transferred from the University of New Mexico last year. Gay will play in the Maine Amateur at Augusta, his home course. He plans to turn pro after that with his first pro tournament being the Greater Bangor Open in July. At the end of August, he will try to Monday-qualify for the final swing of Canadian Tour events, and next winter hopes to play on the PGA Latin-American Tour.

In the recent MSGA weekly tournament at Fox Ridge in Auburn, players had their choice of playing from two set of tees, one which measured at 5,500 yards and the other at 6,100 yards. The MSGA has received information from its player representatives that many players were having difficulty playing the way courses are set up for weekly tournaments. The MSGA is looking for feedback from the players with the new setup to see if they want to continue the two-tee option. It's part of golf's Play It Forward initiative.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

Twitter: TomChardPPH


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