R&A promises action on belly and long putters by 2016

R&A promises action on belly and long putters by 2016

On the eve of the London Olympics, the R&A's chief rules official said the game's governing bodies will take action on long putters by the time Rio de Janeiro takes the Olympic torch.

"It is very much on the agenda now," said David Rickman, the R&A director of rules and equipment standards, according to Golf Magazine.

Rumors had been running wild in recent weeks that the R&A and the U.S. Golf Association were coalescing around some kind of action on long and belly putters this year. In the final year of a four-year rules cycle, however, the surge in the use of the putters came too late for measured action.

"So if you can imagine the four-year process, really the last year is essentially an admin year, where we need to do the whole practicality of printing and distributing 2.6 million copies (of the Rules of Golf)," Rickman said.

Rickman said the issue will be addressed "one way or another" by 2016, but made clear there is precedent to ban a particular style of putting stroke - perhaps a clue of how the governing bodies are leaning.

"So again, we've got a long history of being quite specific about what we mean by a golf stoke," he said, "and really the consideration going forward is, does the anchoring of the club or the gripping of the hand somehow contravene or violate that basic principle."