New York - Just two weeks remain before PGA Tour players have to adapt to a ban
by golf's rulemakers on long putters being anchored to the body and Tim
Clark is among those who expect "some challenges along the way".
African Clark, one of the leading critics of the rule change along with
former major winners Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, has
been using the anchored technique for 18 years and the same putter for
more than a decade.
Clark was publicly vocal in his opposition to
the proposal when it was first suggested in December 2012 but says he
"will be just fine" with a revamped putting method when the 2015-16 PGA
Tour resumes early next month.
"Nearly two decades of putting one
way, I don't think many guys out here that have putted with a short one
for that long would like to switch to something else that they haven't
used," the 40-year-old told Reuters.
"There's going to be some
challenges along the way but I feel what I'm going to do will be just
fine, though you're only going to really know when you start in
"The major switch for me to the short putter is a lot
of muscle memory and retraining of how you use a putter. I'm going to
try and do something that's not vastly different to what I've been doing
in the past."
Clark, who has landed two career victories on the
PGA Tour, has not qualified for the opening event of 2016 – the
winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions to be played at Kapalua on
the Hawaiian island of Maui from January 7-10.
The South African's
first opportunity to test out his new putting technique in competition
will come the following week, at the Sony Open in Honolulu.
Clark, 2012 US Open champion Simpson was opposed to the rule change,
repeatedly citing the lack of evidence in the PGA Tour's 'strokes gained
over the field' putting statistic to support the suggestion that
anchoring gave players an advantage.
"To change something that
drastic, it needs to be based off facts and not what certain people
think the tradition of the game looks like," said American Simpson who
switched to the belly putter in 2004.
"Very few people ranked in the top 20 in strokes gained in recent years have been using either a belly putter or a long putter."
However, Simpson, 30, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, says he is prepared for the rule change.
been working with a short putter for quite a while," he said. "I
expected the day to come and I wanted to be ready. I didn't want to be
Former world No 1 Tiger Woods, a 14-times major champion
who ranks among the game's greatest players, has always adopted a
purist approach when it comes to putting.
"The art of putting is
swinging the club and controlling nerves, and having it as a fixed point
is something that's not in the traditions of the game," said Woods.
"We swing all other 13 clubs. The putter should be the same. It should be a swinging motion throughout the entire bag.
of the things I was concerned about was the kids getting started in the
game who were starting to putt with an anchoring system. Everyone
always copies what we do out here," added Woods.
believe users of the belly technique will find the adjustment easier to
make next year than the 'broomhandle' brigade, and a few could end up
following the example of Matt Kuchar.
American Kuchar uses a
putting stroke which is not outlawed by the rulemakers' proposal since
his putter rests against his left arm and not against his chest, stomach
"It will be interesting to see what guys do – whether
the guys that anchor go to a counter-balance style or something else,"
Kuchar told Reuters.
"But we always seem to find a way. Most guys found a way out here on tour and they will figure out a way to putt well."