USGA defends Bradley vs. heckler
On Saturday, Keegan Bradley said he was heckled by a fan off the 18th green at the end of his third round at the Tiger Woods World Challenge at Thousand Oaks, Calif. The fan called him a "cheater" because of his continued use of his long putter.
This comes only days after the USGA and R&A proposed a ban of anchored putting on Jan. 1, 2016.
The USGA made the following statement on Saturday's incident at Sherwood Country Club:
"This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior. As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the Rules of Golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary.
"Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a Rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the Rules of Golf.
'We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an, obviously, uneducated spectator. Instead, Keegan and other PGA Tour professionals should be commended for their maturity and grace in managing through a proposed change to the Rules of Golf.
'While we understand that the proposed Rules change would cause some short-term angst, we believe the new Rule would serve the long-term best interest of the game.' "
Bradley shot 5-under-par 67 on Saturday, matching the best score of the day. Though his play was unaffected, he did hear the barb.
"I had some guy here call me a cheater on the last hole, which was no fun,'' said Bradley. "That's unfortunate. It's very disrespectful. But it's fine with me. I've got to try and look at it as motivation to help me try to win this tournament.''