Arnold Palmer strongly stated his case Wednesday that golf doesn’t need a ‘‘contraption’’ like the anchored putting stroke and the sport’s success requires everyone to play by the same rules.
In a wide-ranging press conference at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., Palmer said he supported the proposed rule that would outlaw attaching the club against the body, which is the method used for long putters and belly putters.
‘‘That’s not part of the game of golf. To attach it to your body in any way is taking a little bit away from the game,’’ Palmer said. ‘‘I’m not going to argue with anybody about it. I’ve stated my position, and that is we do not need a contraption to play the game of golf.
‘‘I would hope that we’d play under one set of rules, and those rules would include a ban on the long putter hooked to the body in some way, shape or form.’’
The US Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club proposed a new rule to ban such a stroke. The PGA Tour and PGA of America have said they oppose the ban, with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem saying there is no data to prove there is a competitive advantage to using the anchored stroke.
Finchem has said he could see a place for different rules in tournament golf and recreational play, though he has suggested the anchored stroke might not be one of them. PGA of America president Ted Bishop has been more forceful, saying in a recent blog that ‘‘bifurcation seems destined’’ if the rule takes effect in 2016.
The USGA and R&A are expected to announce soon whether to approve the new rule.
The possibility of two sets of rules seemed to agitate Palmer.
‘‘I don’t think that golf has a place for two sets of rules,’’ Palmer said. ‘‘I think one of the reasons that the game has progressed in the way that it has over the years is the fact that the amateurs and the pros all play the same game and they play under the same set of rules.’’
Ryder Cup switch
Tom Watson is giving back one of his captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup. In his first big move since he was appointed US captain last year, Watson said he would take the top nine players off the Ryder Cup standings and select three players as captain’s picks. For the last three matches, only eight Americans qualified for the team and the US captain had four picks. ‘‘Giving our players one more opportunity to earn a spot on merit, I believe, is the right thing to do,’’ Watson said. Paul Azinger was behind a major overhaul of the US points system when he was captain for the 2008 matches. He based the standings on PGA Tour earnings instead of points assigned to top-10 finishes, put more emphasis on the current season the Cup was held and increased the picks from two to four. The next Ryder Cup is in 2014 at Gleneagles in Scotland . . . Defending champion Yani Tseng was dropped from the Kia Classic field in Carlsbad, Calif., after missing her 9:10 a.m. pro-am tee time Wednesday. ‘‘I'm embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,’’ Tseng said in a statement . . . Ye Wocheng, a 12-year-old Chinese boy will become the youngest player to compete in a European Tour event after qualifying for the Volvo China Open. He finished third with a 4-under-par 68 at Chengdu, China, in a regional qualifier.