PGA Tour Confidential: Rory McIlroy WDs, Michael Thompson wins Honda Classic

Rory McIlroy
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Tim Finchem has stated that the PGA Tour does not support the USGA's proposed ban on anchored putting.

FINCHEM VS. THE WORLD OVER BELLY BAN
Gorant: The world had a chance to chew on the PGA Tour's objection to the anchoring ban and deemed it tasteless and maybe even a bit sour. Most other tours offered their outright support of the ruling bodies or indicated their intention to do so. Where does this put the PGA Tour? Where does it put the USGA? Is bifurcation inevitable?

Godich: Bamberger said it best in his Golf.com columna. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem can say he tried. The USGA and the R&A will get their way. I expect the PGA of America to encourage its members to adopt local rules. SI Golf Plus polled the Top 100 teachers last week, and 63 percent sided with the PGA Tour. The biggest concern: finding ways to grow the game. Whatever it takes.

Van Sickle: The USGA and R&A will go ahead and do what they were already going to do, which is institute a ban on anchoring. The ball will then be back in the PGA Tour's court. Is the Tour really going to defy golf's governing bodies? It's one thing to state your objection, it's another thing to back it up. When the ban is announced, it'll effectively be the USGA calling Finchem's bluff. Let's see if he goes all in. I doubt it.

Reiterman: The USGA and R&A will go ahead with the ban, and then it will be on the PGA Tour to create a local rule to allow its player to use anchored strokes. I can't imagine they'd go that route.

Ritter: The PGA Tour is in a tough spot, but I thought Bamberger nailed it in his column this week -- Finchem will do what he has to do to let his players know he's looking out for them. But in this case, bifurcation would be a bad thing. Assuming Finchem and Co. remain the lone outlier to the USGA's rule, they'd eventually have to fall in line ... wouldn't they?

Morfit: I'd say bifurcation is possible, and I really would have no problem with it. If the Tour wants to play by a slightly modified set of rules, it's the least of golf's problems.

Walker: As Michael said in his column, the PGA Tour's position on anchored putting is just political theater. Someday Finchem is going to tell us he was for the anchored putting ban before he was against it. The belly putter will sleep with the fishes on Jan. 1, 2016. Bifurcation will never happen, because there isn't a powerful constituency in favor of it.

Lynch: This fight is already over. The only folks who haven't realized yet are the vocal constituency of hobbled putters on Tour who think Tim Finchem might go the distance and split the game for them. That won't happen. In a few weeks the lords of Augusta will weigh in with the USGA and R&A (after all, they're basically the same people), which raises the prospect that someday only the PGA Championship may allow anchored putting, but not the other three majors. That's a farcical situation that Finchem won't help create just to defend Tim Clark's desire to make a living.

LEWIS WINS SIXTH LPGA TITLE
Gorant: Stacy Lewis won the HSBC. Considering the other (bigger name, more glamorous) contenders, are you surprised that she has emerged as the top American player?

Van Sickle: I'm not surprised by Stacy Lewis. I'm more surprised by such a dearth of talented American players. Other than Michelle Wie, what Americans are out there that Lewis has shockingly surpassed? Cristie Kerr? She's been around a long time. Paula Creamer? She's not a big hitter, she's had some injury bugs and she's had some putting issues. Who else is there? Amy Alcott? Beth Daniel? Lewis is better and tougher than we all think. She's a gamer. Except for her, American women's golf is a bit disappointing at the moment.

Reiterman: Nothing that Stacy Lewis does now surprises me. She just seems to have a chip on her shoulder and a determination to prove she is the best. Hopefully she can stay on top for a while, because she is a great ambassador for the LPGA.

Morfit: I'm not surprised. There's so much more to winning out there than having a pretty swing or great marketability. How's your motor? Does it keep revving even after you're kind of tired and don't feel like practicing five-footers at the end of the day? It's a fine, fine line. Lynch: Anna Kournikova was a glamorous big name, too, and I have as many professional tennis wins as she does. There's no surprise in Lewis's ascendancy. She gets it done, her peers don't.

Ritter: Lewis surprised me last year, but not anymore. Yani better watch out -- a new No. 1 is closing in.

Walker: Lewis is a closer and she's picking up where she left off last year. This could be a big year for her.

Godich: Stacy Lewis is a grinder. That has and will continue to serve her well.

 

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