Tim Clark, Brian Harman and Webb Simpson finished tied for 13th last week at the Sony Open without their putters attached to their bellies or chests. These guys are good, and they'll find a way to putt. In fact, Harman was quoted in late 2015 as saying, "I can change whenever I want."
These three who have all won using an anchored putter will have no problem adapting to Rule 14-1b, which "prohibits 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 to establish an anchor point that indirectly anchors the club."
Not to beleaguer the point, golf has one set of rules for every player, and that makes the game great for all ages and abilities. Golfers can play on the same course where Hogan won a U.S. Open, Jack Nicklaus an Open Championship, Tiger Woods a PGA and Jordan Spieth a Masters. They play by the same set of rules, although sometimes hard to comprehend. In order to understand 14-1b, golfers must read two important notes that explain the rule further.
First, "The club is anchored 'directly' when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm." Matt Kuchar and Bernhard Langer have held their putters with a "gripping hand" around their forearms in the past, which is completely legal, as long as that forearm is not anchored.
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Golfers must not anchor the end of the putter or the gripping hand on any part of the body except a hand or forearm, and golfers must not create an "anchor point." They must not use a forearm as a way to anchor the putter.
Another USGA note reads, "An 'anchor point' exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club."
The USGA and R & A want golfers to know that 14-1b is not an equipment rule. Golfers can still use their long putters if they wish.
Tommy Snell, golf coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, writes a column for the Sun Herald.