Langer ‘certain’ he has not broken putting rule

Bernhard Langer of Germany hits from a deep bunker on the seventh hole during the 2017 Masters in Augusta

(Reuters) – Bernhard Langer issued a statement on Friday saying he is “certain” he has not been violating a rule banning players from anchoring their putter during their stroke.

Golf Channel analyst and former PGA Tour player Brandel Chamblee stoked controversy in a Golf Channel column on Wednesday by calling Langer’s putting stroke into question.

Langer, a former world number one and two-time Masters champion, said his stroke did not breach the rule.

“I’m certain that I am not anchoring the putter and that my putting stroke is not violating the Rules of Golf,” Langer said in a statement released via the PGA Tour.

“I have been in contact with the USGA and rules officials … and each time I have been assured that my putting stroke is within the Rules of Golf.

“I will continue to play with the same integrity that I’ve displayed throughout my career.”

In his column, Chamblee wrote, “… I cannot believe what I am seeing on PGA Tour Champions, with regard to the putting strokes of Bernhard Langer and Scott McCarron.

“When the anchored-putting ban went into effect in January 2016, putting techniques and lives changed,” he added.

“… Langer did not alter his long putter anchored (looking) putting technique, except to say he was moving the butt end away from his body after making practice strokes with it touching his body.”

The rule states that “while making a stroke, a player may not anchor the club (i) ‘directly’ or (ii) indirectly through use of an ‘anchor point’,” noting that an anchor point exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.

Chamblee wrote that it was the use of the word “intentionally” that had created a grey area.

“Intent is the get-out-of-jail-free card for both the player and those who are meant to police the player,” he wrote.

In a statement released along with Langer’s, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said it had seen “no evidence” of any player breaching the rule.

“We are confident that Rule (14-1b) has been applied fairly and consistently and have seen no evidence of a player breaching the rule, which does not prohibit a hand or club to touch a player’s clothing in making a stroke.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)