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Augusta: No stance on anchoring

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta National and the Masters did not take a position on the controversial anchored putter issue that has been debated throughout golf for the past six months.

"We hope and believe that they can reach common ground so that golf will continue under one set of rules," club chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday.

As the club that administers the Masters, the tournament could choose to do as it wishes regarding the rules. But the club has always followed the rules set forth by the United States Golf Association, which governs golf in the U.S. and Mexico. The R&A governs the rest of the world of golf.

Those rules-making bodies combined in November to set forth a proposal that would ban the anchoring of a club to the body. The rule would not go into effect until 2016, and a comment period ended on Feb. 28.

The opinions expressed have left golf in an uneasy position.

While the USGA (which administers the U.S. Open) and the R&A (which runs the Open Championship) have proposed a ban, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem came out in support of anchoring. All along, the PGA of America, under president Ted Bishop, has been against the ban as well.

All of which leads to the possibility of different sets of rules if the ban is enacted and the PGA Tour and the PGA of America do not go along.

The Masters is expected to follow the lead of the USGA, but, Payne said, "Given the fact that the ruling bodies have not yet declared a decision following the open comment period, I do think it would be inappropriate for us to express an opinion."

A final ruling is expected this spring.