Golf's governing bodies will ban the anchoring of putters from January 2016, the Royal and Ancient (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

The ban was first proposed in November. Players and the golfing community were then given 90 days in which to discuss the proposal.

The European Tour expressed its support for the idea while both the U.S. PGA Tour and PGA of America voiced opposition.

"We took a great deal of time to consider this issue and received a variety of contributions from individuals and organisations at all levels of the game," said R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

"We recognise this has been a divisive issue but after thorough consideration we remain convinced this is the right decision for golf." 

USGA president Glen D. Nager said the new rule would uphold the "essential nature of the traditional method of the stroke and eliminate the possible advantage that anchoring provides".

"Having considered all of the input that we received, both before and after the proposed rule was announced, our best judgment is it is necessary to preserve one of the important traditions and challenges of the game - that the player freely swing the entire club," said Nager.

'Swing all 14'

Some forms of anchoring have been around at least 40 years, and old photographs suggest it has been used even longer. It wasn't until after Keegan Bradley became the first major champion to use a belly putter than the USGA and R&A said it would take a new look at the putting style.

Among those who spoke in favour of the ban were Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker.

"I've always felt that in golf you should have to swing the club, control your nerves and swing all 14 clubs, not just 13," Woods said on Monday.

Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson have used the long putter as long as they have been on the PGA Tour. Adam Scott only switched to the broom-handle putter in 2011, and he began contending in majors for the first time - tied for third in 2011 Masters, runner-up at the 2012 British Open, his first major victory in the Masters last month.

"It was inevitable that big tournaments would be won with this equipment because these are the best players in the world, and they practice thousands of hours," Scott said after winning the Masters.

"They are going to get good with whatever they are using."

Source: Agencies