Even if the USGA and R&A never ban anchored putting as proposed, the debate has left a mark.
Reporting from the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Steve DiMeglio of USA Today writes that Keegan Bradley continues to be heckled by fans both in person and, more often, on Twitter.
"I'm being called a cheater more than ever by fans, by some writers — none of you guys — and it's really tough,"Bradley said Tuesday at a news conference in advance of this week's Honda Classic. "A lot of it's on Twitter, which is ridiculous, anyways, I know. I do read it and I shouldn't. I can't imagine how people can say that to me or to anybody out here. It's been really difficult, and I'm sick of it to be honest. I'm ready to be over it. I realize that this is going to be an issue now for the next couple years, at least. I hope the USGA thought about us players before they did this, because it's been really difficult on me and I know it's been really difficult on some other players, too."
Bradley became the first player to win a major using anchored putting at the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club. Although it was almost certainly a coincidence — there is no data to prove anchored putting is more effective than regular putting — Bradley's historic win was followed by Webb Simpson's 2012 U.S. Open victory, and Ernie Els's surprising win at the British Open a month later. Simpson and Els also anchor the putter, which would be outlawed starting Jan. 1, 2016, if the proposed ban goes into effect.
The issue is expected to be debated until the spring.
"Commissioner Finchem and the PGA Tour have always had their players' backs, no matter how big or small the group is," Bradley said. "Two of the biggest golf organizations, the PGA Tour and the PGA of America, have said that they don't agree with the USGA (and R&A). If they are really taking this comment period seriously, I think they really need to look at what's been said by both those organizations."
RELATED PHOTOS: Pros affected by anchored putting ban (Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)