2011 USPGA Champion Keegan Bradley has spoken out to say he will not give up his long putter without a fight, should the expected New Year ban come to fruition.
The fiery American revealed his plans, which may include legal action, to the press at the WGC Champions event in China.
Bradley, who was the first player to win a major with an anchored putter, said: “I'm going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on Tour.
“I look at it as a whole, as us all together. I don't look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we've done what we've done is unbelievable.”
Bradley has said that he has yet to be approached by either the USGA or the R&A, while Ernie Els has said that he has had a brief, non-substantive conversation with R&A officials.
Els, an early opponent of long putters, changed his thinking as he lost his short-putting prowess. Even after winning the 2012 Open Championship by using the long putter, the four-time major winner still was reluctant to support the anchored stroke.
However, he is now slowly moving towards supporting the anchored movement. “They (the USGA and R&A) are going to have a couple of legal matters coming their way,” said the South African. “It's going to be a bit of an issue now.
“I’ve been against it, but since I’ve been using it, it still takes a lot of practice, and you have to perfect your own way of putting with this belly.”
If the dispute were to land in the courts, it wouldn't be the first time the USGA has faced legal opposition to a rules change. Nearly three decades ago, Ping sued the USGA after the body banned the company's Ping Eye2 irons, which featured large-volume U-shaped grooves. It resulted in an out-of-court settlement with the USGA allowing the company's clubs built before April 1st 1990 to be conforming for competition.
Despite the possibility of a legal showdown with some of the game's top players, the USGA intends to enforce what it believes to be best for the game.
“If all of a sudden we think there is something that is right for the game of golf and that may involve future litigation, the mind-set is, if this is the right thing to do, we need to do it and just let things fall where they are,” said USGA Executive Chief Mike Davis at the Open Championship earlier this year.