THING OF THE PAST?: Tim Clark of South Africa putts with a long putter on the seventh green during the second round of the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa at the Royal Durban Golf Club in December 2012. Golfers are expecting a decision on long putters on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
THING OF THE PAST?: Tim Clark of South Africa putts with a long putter on the seventh green during the second round of the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa at the Royal Durban Golf Club in December 2012. Golfers are expecting a decision on long putters on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

LOS ANGELES — Professional and amateur golfers are likely to know on Tuesday whether they would be permitted to use long putters anchored to any part of their body from 2016 onwards.

The game’s rule makers are widely expected to announce the controversial proposed ban on the anchoring technique when they hold simultaneous news conferences on Tuesday, at Far Hills in New Jersey and at Virginia Water in Surrey, UK.

Should the governing bodies decide to go forward with that proposal in just over two-and-a-half years’ time, it is by no means guaranteed that all interested parties will automatically fall in line.

When the ban was proposed in November, the US Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal & Ancient (R&A) said they wanted to outlaw the anchored putting stroke by 2016 to preserve the "skill and challenge" of putting.

Players and the golfing community were then given 90 days in which to discuss that proposal.

By the end of that period, the European Tour had expressed its support of the idea while both the US PGA Tour and PGA of America voiced opposition.

Golf could become extremely muddled, or messy at the very least, as it remains to be seen whether the PGA Tour and the PGA of America would back the anchoring ban should it come into effect.

During the build-up to the Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass earlier in May, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was asked about the likely response of the US Tour.

"We haven’t even discussed internally in our organisation what our response will be to their completion of their process until they complete it," he said.

"We were asked our views. We made those views known to the USGA and the R&A, and they have to now complete their process.

"When they complete it, then we’ll turn around and have a conversation with our players and our board about the position we should take at that point. Until we get there, we’re not going to speculate on it."

Last November’s announcement by the rule makers came after three of the previous five Major champions had used "belly" putters — Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship), Webb Simpson (2012 US Open) and Ernie Els (2012 British Open).

Australian Adam Scott then followed suit when he won last month’s Masters while using a long putter anchored to his chest.

Bradley blazed the "belly putter" trail with his playoff victory over Jason Dufner at Atlanta Athletic Club and yet he cannot recall any fuss being made over his achievement at the time. "Wasn’t a big deal at all," the 26-year-old recalled.

"I was the first one to do it and afterwards didn’t get asked one question about it."

Reuters