Updated: May 22, 2013, 3:08 PM ET

Should PGA Tour impose anchor ban early?

By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

Adam ScottPress Association via AP ImagesThe anchor ban doesn't take effect until 2016. Should the PGA Tour start early?
Tim Finchem stated his case back in February, and the PGA Tour commissioner made it clear he believed that anchoring was not a big enough issue to warrant change. Fair enough.

But now it IS going to change. Golf's rules-making bodies on Tuesday made official their proposal to ban anchored putting strokes, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Not only does the PGA Tour need to go along, but the tour should stipulate that it will enact the ban earlier to avoid any stigma that those who use that style are sure to face.

The tour released a statement saying it will study the matter, meet with the players, get with the Policy Board … everything but throw grass in the air to see which direction the wind is blowing.

But really, this is pretty simple.

To do anything but go along with the United States Golf Association and the R&A would, in essence, be going against the Rules of Golf.

And that is what Webb Simpson just suggested the tour do. In an interview with SiriusXM radio, the reigning U.S. Open champion said that while he respects the USGA and R&A, he believes the tour should stand apart. "I want them to go against it," said Simpson, who uses a belly putter.

Certainly as a professional sports entity, the PGA Tour has every right to write its own rules. Other sports leagues do. That's why we see different rules for college and pro football and basketball and numerous other sports.

Golf has always been different in that way. The various pro tours have always abided by the rules set forth by the governing bodies. It makes for one set of rules for all -- and it makes things simpler when players from around the world convene at the major championships or even travel among the various world tours.

Imagine if the PGA Tour allowed players to anchor while the European Tour did not? Or you could anchor at the FedEx St. Jude in Memphis, but the following week at Merion for the U.S. Open, you could not? I suppose that a player who chooses to flip-flop like that would bring any difficulties on himself, and yet it still makes for a messy scenario.

And it will undoubtedly come with a stain.

The rules makers now deem anchoring -- as of Jan. 1, 2016 -- to be illegal, against the rules. So those who continue to do it will be branded, fairly or not.

As of now, anchoring is legal, and should be treated as such. If the rule doesn't go into effect for 2 ½ more years, so be it. Masters champion Adam Scott and Open Championship winner Ernie Els should be free to do as they please. Rules change all the time in sports, and there should be no stigma.

Of course, that is easy to say.

Ask Keegan Bradley, who said he's heard it in the gallery and gotten plenty of abuse on Twitter because he uses an anchored stroke with a belly putter. Wouldn't it simply be cleaner, easier, to move on?

You can bet that some players who use anchored strokes will quickly try to transition. Others may not. So why doesn't the PGA Tour make it a condition of competition sometime between now and the official implementations of the new rule?

This would be a good point of conversation among the players and the tour hierarchy. With a wraparound season commencing later this year, something will have to occur before Jan. 1, 2016. But it's tricky, as enacting the ban earlier would, in essence, also be going against the Rules of Golf. But in this case, it might be perfectly understandable.

Is October of this year too early? Perhaps. But clearly the players knew this was coming. It's been discussed for more than a year. Golfers, especially professional golfers, are resilient. They'll adapt. Scott has already said he will simply move the end of the putter away from his chest. You know he'll work hard at it, just as will every other player who has to go to a conventional method.

The last thing the tour needs to do, however, is go against the Rules of Golf by ignoring the USGA/R&A. The best thing it could do is to get this issue in the past -- otherwise it will not go away for the next three years.

Bob Harig | email

ESPN Senior Writer

The Rory Story

There is still no official word that Rory McIlroy is leaving his management agency, Horizon Sports, despite numerous media reports last week that said the Northern Irishman would be forming his own company.

Clearly, something is amiss, as several in the industry have known for weeks that something was up, and McIlroy's countryman, Graeme McDowell -- who is also represented by Horizon -- confirmed the breakup.

Perhaps legal matters are in play, but the entire scenario is odd. Two weeks ago at The Players Championship, two U.K. writers approached McIlroy to discuss what they had been hearing: that he was going on his own. McIlroy, always an honest sort, denied it several times over.

So what to make of all of this?

It probably wouldn't be a big deal if it were a player of smaller stature, but McIlroy is one of the game's rising talents, now ranked second in the world and a two-major winner at age 24. Horizon helped him sign lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Omega and Bose, and yet McIlroy has struggled with his form so far this year, with no victories.

Undoubtedly, there is more to come.

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