Bellies, broomsticks and the Canadian Tour

 Two significant changes are coming. One is a done deal and the other probably will be.

The one that’s been announced is the PGA Tour purchasing the Canadian Tour. After loaning the Canadians money at the end of 2011 the PGA Tour spent this year figuring out just what could be done to strengthen the struggling north-of-the-border tour with sponsorship help and new tournaments.

Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner in a prepared statement said, “Having gained a thorough understanding of the golf landscape in Canada over the course of the 2012 season, we are confident that by fully dedicating our assets and resources, PGA TOUR Canada will be well positioned to play an increasingly important role in professional golf. With a solid foundation of existing tournaments along with outstanding opportunities to establish new events, we are confident PGA TOUR Canada will strengthen and grow in the coming years.”

Between PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s plan to go to a split spring-fall schedule and PGA TOUR Canada’s summer schedule, players qualifying for both Tours will have the opportunity to play a year-long schedule. Both Tours will conduct their own qualifying tournaments for membership.

The second change is the move, presumably fairly soon, by the R&A and the USGA to ban the use of long putters. This was discussed by USGA executive director Mike Davis at the player Policy Board meeting this past Monday in an effort to get the Tour players to acquiesce when (not if, in my opinion) a rule on the maximum length of putter shaft is put into the book.

According to Alex Micelli’s column yesterday on, Davis discussed the idea of a restriction with the Board, this of course is accepting the fact three of the last eight major championships were won by players using a nonstandard length putter.

Micelli wrote, Davis told the Policy Board that any rule change would not be because of a competitive advantage with the stroke and would be made to address the perception about how the game should be played.

Put another way, there is no empirical or statistical evidence to prove that a player using the anchoring stroke and a long putter has an advantage over a player using a traditionallength putter. The USGA just doesn’t like the way it looks.”

If you think the issues of whether the ball goes too far or our ‘incredible shrinking’ grooves provoked some people, should rules makers nix bellies and broomsticks the cries of anguish will be like nothing you have ever heard.

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