Anchoring will be to golf as the tuck rule is, as of Wednesday, to football. For sure, Keegan Bradley’s favored putting stroke will soon be equally as against the rules as the motion Tom Brady employed (legally) in 2002 to launch the New England Patriots on the first of three Super Bowl championship runs.
With Bradley an unabashed Brady buff, the comparison is not that far-fetched.
“I absolutely think the guy’s the best and I try to model myself as much as I can after him,” Bradley says about the Pats’ signal caller in a new commercial from Putnam Investments, which sponsors the golfer and the football franchise. “He’s just a great champion and what he does on the football field is remarkable and something that I try to emulate on the golf course.”
With the NFL rescinding on Wednesday the infamous “tuck rule” that launched a three-Super Bowl Championship run in these parts, Bradley may be able to advise his hero on how to ignore the cheating charges likely to rain down even more furiously on QB 12 and Bill Belichick’s merry band of footballers than they did after SpyGate.
To be clear: neither jamming a long putter into one’s gut the way Bradley has done for years, or playing by the game’s dictates, as the Vermont native does and his favorite gridiron squad did in the legendary Snow Bowl game, is against the rules.
And just because golf’s governing bodies are likely to ban anchored putting as surely as NFL owners (sans Robert Kraft, who abstained) voted to outlaw the motion that overturned what appeared to be a certain Brady fumble, that does not make Bradley a scofflaw.
Golf’s overseers, the USGA and R&A, proposed in November to ban the stroke that Bradley and a slew of other PGA Tour golfers employ to maneuver their putters of belly length and longer. The comment period, during which the PGA of America and tour commissioner Tim Finchem voiced their opposition to the plan, ended recently and the governors are expected to lower the boom on Bradley, Ernie Els, Webb Simpson, and the rest of the belly putter brigade sometime this spring.
Even then, however, the rule change would not take effect until January 2016, which allows Bradley to continue anchoring without being labeled a miscreant. Too bad such niceties are beyond the ken of spectators like the one who charged him with cheating during Tiger Woods’ World Golf Challenge in December, or the heckling Brady said he receives regularly on Twitter.
Unfortunately, however, for both Boston sports icons, loud-mouthed, ignorant fan boys will yell what they wish and Brady and Bradley, being the professionals they are, will just have to suck it up.
Bradley, the first golfer to win a major with a long putter, has become the poster child for anchoring. As such, he said last month he was sick of the whole debate and so was, no doubt, not happy to hear Arnold Palmer weigh in with his recent remarks dissing what Gary Player has referred to as “nose” putting.
“Now the long putter, I’ve objected to that from the beginning,” Palmer told reporters Wednesday ahead of his namesake tour event this week at Bay Hill. “I only think that we don’t need a long putter. That’s not part of the game of golf. To attach it to your body in any way is taking a little bit away from the game….We do not need a contraption to play the game of golf.”
Bradley and his belly bat began Arnie’s event with a 2-over 74. He’ll enter Friday’s second round at least nine shots behind the 18-hole frontrunner, who, with golfers still on the field late Thursday, was Justin Rose, the leader in the clubhouse with a 7-under 65.