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Wrong rulings

Friday, December 14, 2018

Former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez spoke to Tony about golf’s latest rule changes…

The R&A and the USGA have recently brought in several minor rule changes but, in my opinion, they have again failed to address golf's biggest problems.

From next year players are allowed to repair spike marks on the green, they will be able to putt with the flagstick still in the hole and also drop the ball from knee high rather than shoulder high.

A lot more tweaks to the rules have been made too but when are the powers-that-be going to tackle the issue of anchoring, or restrict the distance the golf ball travels by 25 or 30 yards so that so many of the great golf courses the top players used in the past can be made relevant again.

Don't get me wrong. Some of the rule changes they have made are fine but they should have been brought in years ago.

Spike marks cost loads of golfers big tournaments 20, 30 years ago when everyone used steel spikes and the quality of the top-level putting surfaces weren't anything like they are now. You had to swallow those things in the old days, it was just the rub of the green.

When are the lawmakers going to really get to grips with the anchoring problem?

They got that one badly wrong a few years ago. They haven't corrected their mistake and now they are ignoring the issue.

What makes them think that being able to put your putter alongside your arm isn't anchoring, for example. If you go back deep into the mists of time, when great players like Harry Vardon and Ted Ray were around, long putters weren't allowed. Pure and simple.

Sam Torrance was the first player in Europe to use a long putter. I used one myself at the back end of my playing days but that was before we discovered things like the claw grip.

I've also heard that Gary Player's three British Senior Open wins in 1988, 1990 and 1997 have now been upgraded to senior major victories. Nothing against Gary because they should have been recognised as majors all along but, to my mind, it's ridiculous to make a change like that retrospectively because they are rewriting the course of history.

The Asian and European Tours, the R&A and the World Golf Hall of Fame already recognised the British Senior Open as a senior major, but now the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour in the U.S. have decided to follow suit.

Previously, the PGA Tour and Champions Tour only considered Gary to have won six senior majors but he always argued that all Senior Open victories should count.

A lot of these changes the rulemakers around the world have made don't make sense. A lot of the conclusions they have reached don't make sense.