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U.S. PGA Tour agrees to anchored putting ban

(Reuters) - The U.S. PGA Tour avoided a potentially damaging split over golf's rules by falling in line with the Royal & Ancient and United States Golf Association (USGA) agreeing to a ban on anchored putting on Monday.

The rule-making Royal & Ancient and the USGA had already imposed a ban from 2016 while the PGA Tour had been opposed to the move.

"The PGA Tour policy board today acknowledged that the USGA's ban on anchored strokes ... will apply to PGA Tour competitions beginning on January 1, 2016," the Tour said in a statement.

PGA Tour competitions are conducted in accordance with the USGA rules of golf however, the Tour's policy board reserved the right to make modifications for PGA Tour competitions if it deems it appropriate.

"In making its decision, the policy board recognized that there are still varying opinions among our membership but ultimately concluded that while it is an important issue, a ban on anchored strokes would not fundamentally affect a strong presentation of our competitions or the overall success of the PGA Tour," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in the statement.

"The Board also was of the opinion that having a single set of rules on acceptable strokes applicable to all professional competitions worldwide was desirable and would avoid confusion."

The PGA Tour, however, did urge the two rules-making bodies to extend the time period that amateur players would be allowed to use anchored putters beyond the January 1, 2016 cut off date.

(Writing by Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Steve Keating)

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