by Jeff Skinner
Bifurcation: to be split or branched off into two parts. In golfing terms it may as well mean revolution. The anchoring/long putter debate is getting more heated with every passing day. Mike Davis of the USGA has met with the PGA Players and Tim Finchem and his crew are mulling over the effect of a rule change on the PGA Tour.
But if anyone thinks the long putter will go gently into that good night they are mistaken.
Taylor Made CEO, Mark King has taken a serious shot across the bow of the USGA predicting, “The USGA within 10 years will be a non-entity, they will be a non-factor in golf because they are choosing to be on the outside and no one is signing up for what they represent.”
In a lengthy and rebellious interview with Rick Young of Score Golf, King stated the long putter won’t be going the way of the dinosaur. He says that despite any rule changes he will continue to manufacture long putters and let golfers have a choice. “What we’re (TMaG) going to do whether there is bifurcation or not is we will continue to make long putters for golfers. If they roll the ball back we’re not going to roll our ball back. We will for a tournament ball but we’re still going to sell you a ball you can play. Like I said, two sets of rules are coming. Whether they’re sanctioned or not we are not going to stop making long putters and I’m not going to stop playing one. I won’t. By the time it happens the USGA is either going to have to get with it or stand off somewhere all by themselves.”
King appears to be starting the revolution, a revolution against the power of the USGA and its ability to dictate to manufacturers and golfers alike. “I don’t think this is an equipment issue. I think it’s a golfer issue. What I think needs to happen is the industry needs to come together without the USGA. Leave them out.”
“I know but it needs to be extreme. We have an industry that should be growing, it should be exciting, it should be fun and it’s not. And it’s not because the USGA won’t let it. Now the USGA would tell you ‘Oh, we don’t have that power we only make the rules.’ But the way this is constructed is the top of the pyramid is the USGA and until they support a new form of golf that is fun and engaging, nothing is going to change. Nothing.”
King’s remarks are radical but so are the proposed actions of the USGA. And when faced with a significant threat to their business this is what CEO’s will do, protect their interests.
It is an interesting question and answer and well worth reading.