Still got it: Jacklin tees off during the Bacardi Par 3 World Championship at Turtle Hill Golf Course. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Still got it: Jacklin tees off during the Bacardi Par 3 World Championship at Turtle Hill Golf Course. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

Golf legend Tony Jacklin has repeated his criticism of the game’s governing bodies for their plans to ban the anchored putter.

Speaking at a special Evening With... event on Saturday night at the Fairmont Southampton as part of the Bacardi World Par 3 Championship at Turtle Hill Golf Course, Jacklin accused the USGA and the R&A of “closing the gate when the horse has bolted”.

The debate over the legitimacy of the anchored putter — where the butt of the club is held in place by a body part, usually the belly -— has divided the game.

Some of the world’s leading players —Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, for example — have been hugely successful using that method. 

The likes of Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer, though, have been vocal in their support of a ban, although the PGA Tour, in a significant statement, said they would oppose such a move.

Jacklin, four-time Ryder Cup captain and winner of the 1969 Open and the 1970 US Open, believes the style of putting has been around too long to be banned.

He said: “It’s just been too long, 30 years.

“To have this go by for 30 years when you have guys like Tim Clark and a bunch of other guys who don’t know anything else.

“I can understand the PGA’s view on it. There’s going to be ructions if they make this official. I’m all for everyone playing the same game but this... why the heck didn’t they do something long, long ago.

“They’re supposed to be  the governing bodies and have their finger on the pulse of all these things, so how can you let this go on for so long.

“Personally, I also think the golf ball goes too far and I don’t think it makes the game any better and it’s affecting the time it takes to play and the cost of maintaining longer golf courses.

“They’re supposed to be shepherding the game and it just makes me wonder over the last 25 years ‘have they done it to a high enough standard?’

“It’s all well and good closing the gate when the horse has bolted. 

“That’s what’s happened. That’s my take on it. It’s been too long and I think we have to let it go.”

Jacklin also captivated the audience with tales of playing against Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, captaining the likes of Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros and his role in the famous concession putt by Nicklaus, which remains one of sports most iconic moments.

For a full transcript of Jacklin’s Evening With... go to the golf section at

The Englishman also gave his verdict on the choice of Tom Watson as the US captain for the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland.

Jacklin said: “I don’t think Tom being captain is a bad thing but I think USA will get beaten!

He added: “One thing about Tom, he doesn’t care what he says — he says it like it is and he will have the utmost respect from everyone in his team and quite rightly so.

“He was never afraid of criticising Tiger from time  to time when he thought he was out of order and he’s been consistent on that basis.” n