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Sports & Fitness // Curran Events
Bobby Curran

Long Putter Ban Could Go To Court

The official announcement confirming the ban on anchored putting by the Royal and Ancient along with the USGA causes major stress to some practitioners of the anchored stroke.

At the top of the list is South African Tim Clark, who has had 12 wins in his professional career. He already has indicated he will pursue all options, including legal relief, if plans to institute the ban remain on track. He has used the anchored stroke since beginning his professional career in 1998.

While Clark has never won a major, four of the last six major winners have used anchored putters. Clark said “this puts my professional career at risk.” We haven’t heard anything quite so strong from other devotees such as Adam Scott, Keenan Bradley, Webb Simpson or Bernhard Langer, and maybe they have more confidence in their ability to transition to the free swing. An even basic psychology indicates that the surest way to fail to transition is to believe that you can’t. No word yet on what the PGA will decide to do, but a piece of advice for Clark and the others might be to start practicing the free-swinging stroke now, even while continuing to use the anchored stroke in competition as long as it is allowed …

It probably couldn’t do any further damage to the relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, but the Spaniard’s joke at a European awards ceremony that he’d have Tiger over for dinner and “serve fried chicken” showed an extraordinary lack of good judgment …

* The NFL has recognized that it may be developing a problem that is out of its control. With the steady improvement in television technology, fewer fans are willing to brave traffic, crowds and the elements to see their favorite teams at the stadium. The recent owner meetings led Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones to mention that it is a major concern, and it only makes sense. Add to the convenience and excellence of the technology the controlled social environment and culinary options available at home, and fans are increasingly opting out of the stadium experience. Solving this problem will take a more creative approach than NFL executives have typically required. Until now, the league has been able to sit tight and watch the hundreds of millions roll in …

* And speaking of staying home, the dwindling attendance for UH football could be falling prey to the same factors. The pay-for-view options for UH fans seem increasingly popular. For UH, the best solution might be a return to winning ways, because one thing you can’t find at home is the sheer exhilaration of being there …

* While Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is popular with ownership, players and fans, it’s becoming doubtful that Donnie Baseball can survive much more of the lackluster play that has the team at the bottom of the NFL West.

Players keep insisting that it’s not the manager’s fault, but you can’t fire the team. And Dodgers executive Stan Kasten is suspiciously quiet on the subject. Absent a profound turnaround, it’s hard to see Mattingly making it to the All-Star break.

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