SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The proposed United States Golf Association ban on anchored putting was a hot topic Friday during the second round of play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and one PGA Tour veteran offered a particularly strong opinion.
"My thoughts are that let us play golf and leave us alone, pretty much," Robert Garrigus said following his second straight 5-under 66, which left him at 10-under after morning play.
Garrigus, an eight-year Tour veteran, uses a short putter but recently tried using a long putter, admittedly to little success. He said he has spoken to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem about the proposed rule change that would outlaw strokes anchored against the body beginning in 2016.
"I asked him, out of the 15 board members that vote on our game, our professional game, how many of them have ever struck a shot in competition," Garrigus said. "And that was zero, and that's all I needed to hear.
"They're amateurs policing a professional game. It's just unfortunate."
A handful of Tour players have spoken out against the use of "belly" putters, including Tiger Woods, while many have expressed ambivalence to their use. Three of the last of five major champions have used long putters, including Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship.
Bradley took a brief one-stroke lead following his second round at TPC Scottsdale on Friday, shooting an 8-under 63 to sit just ahead of opening-round leader Phil Mickelson, who started the day 11-under. Asked about the potential for an anchoring ban, Bradley deferred comment for now.
"I'm going to let the USGA go through their process," Bradley said. "They're still in the process of determining whether they're going to make it a rule. They still have to vote in a couple weeks. But until then, I'm just going to kind of sit back and do my thing.
"I'm going to have to wait and see what they say, and whatever they come up with, obviously I'm going to have to follow. I know that they're trying to do what's in the best interest of the game, which I respect."
Garrigus mentioned Bradley in particular when defending his opponents who do use long putters. Other notables who use the putter include Webb Simpson and Ernie Els.
"It's unfortunate they're trying to ban it and everybody is calling Keegan and those guys cheaters," Garrigus said. "They're not cheating."
Garrigus also expressed that he does not think the proposed ban will be approved.
Bradley has heard some negativity from fans before about his use of the belly putter, but none from the rowdy fans at TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole this week.
"They've been extremely supportive of it," Bradley said, smiling. "The guys on 16 have been yelling to me about the belly putter, how much they love it. Maybe the USGA needs to go hang out on the 16th hole, the very pro-belly-putter area."