A collective sigh and maybe even a shrug of the shoulders at the biggest news of the week - the ban on anchoring.
After Johnny Miller's quotes Wednesday, perhaps the best quotes at the end of the week came from Keegan Bradley. Maybe the most interesting part of the lead-up and reaction to the proposed ban is that Bradley has shown to be a smart level-headed guy and a good quote. Even as an anti-broomstick person, if anything, I like him more now than before the proposed ban after reading his comments. He's shown to be cool and funny about the whole thing. Now, this is all after some initial vague comments prior to the USGA and R&A announcement Wednesday which could have been interpreted as veiled threats at legal action ... well, maybe so veiled if you read them.
As for potential legal action, the two best articles are from Lester Munson at ESPN and David Dusek at golf.com. The general thought out there is that a suit challenging the USGA and R&A would not likely be successful. There's also an amusing discussion and contrast with the Casey Martin situation with legal analyst on PrimeTimeSports out of Toronto with Rob Becker, the show's sharp and entertaining legal analyst out of New York. You can listen to that here.
WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT RIGHT OR WRONG ... WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE LAW
That said, there is an element of this whole process and proposed rule change which does suggest the lawyers had significant input. The easiest way to fix the problem would be to limit the length of the putter itself. By banning the stroke instead of the club, it likely made it harder for club manufacturers or players using the long putter to bring a suit. It is harder for them to say they are being singled out with resulting damages. The USGA and R&A can simply say they have not banned long putters and the manufacturers and players are free to sell and use these clubs, which are legal. They can even point to Matt Kuchar's stroke as an example. It seems much easier to say they are simply making a rule change like any sport (no one would think James Harrison of the Steelers couldn't sue the NFL for changing the rules to ban head shots up the middle). From a practical point, it would have been easier to simply limit the length of the club itself -- but that would probably be more difficult to defend in the face of legal action if it came to that.
Also, the announcement that is is simply a "proposed rule" allows the governing bodies additional defence to say they were not acting arbitrarily and were seeking as much input as possible. This allows the USGA and R&A to appear reasonable and sympathetic should they face a lawsuit.
For more on the anchoring ban, see the most complete and up-to-date resource of quotes and comments about the proposed anchroing ban here.
There has been a lot of talk about addressing the technology in clubs and balls as being more pressing, but we should not beat around the bush any longer: the real issue is whether cargo shorts belong in the game.