By James Crook

159440643May 22 - Former US Masters runner-up Tim Clark has claimed to be one of "a fair number" of players seeking legal advice over the decision to ban the anchoring of putters from 2016, which was confirmed yesterday by golf's governing bodies, Royal & Ancient (R&A) and the US Golf Association (USGA).

"We do have legal counsel." said the 37-year-old South African, who finished second at Augusta in 2006.

"We'll explore options.

"We're not going to just roll over and accept this."

With four of the past six Major winners - including 2013 Masters winner Adam Scott - using the technique, a backlash from players seemed inevitable, but R&A chief Peter Dawson claimed that they are confident that they have all their legal bases covered.

"I very much hope not," he said when asked of whether there was a possibility of legal action from players.

99034782Tim Clark, pictured using his broom handle putter, is seeking legal action over the ban of anchored putters

"I don't think lawsuits will be on particularly strong ground.

"We are not so sure of ourselves that you can always be sure you're going to be right, but we have certainly done our homework on this one, far more than anything else in my time at the R&A."

The new rule - first mooted in November - has proven to be controversial, with the PGA Tour yesterday stating that they would discuss the new rule with their Players Coucil and Policy board members before making a decision as to whether or not to implement the rule in their events.

Webb Simpson, who won last year's US Open with an anchored putter, took to Twitter to comment on the new ruling.

"What am I going to do?" he said.

"Well I always use short putter at home to make sure my set-up is same.

"So I will keep practicing and see what the Tour says.

"I was going to maybe switch at some point anyways, whatever will make me better!"

149043612Clark's compatriot Ernie Els has only been using a belly putter for a year, but won the Open with it in 2012

Clark's South African compatriot Ernie Els, who won the 2012 Open with a belly putter, admitted that he would not have won last year's event at Royal Lytham & St Annes had it not been for his use of the controversial anchored club. 

"I was in such a state on the greens then that I don't think I could have won the Open with a short putter," he said. 

"But I'm in a much better place now, 

"I feel I can get back to working with the short putter

"I've been using one for over a year and won a major with it, but some have been using it for 18-20 years," 

"I think the PGA Tour will play ball, but it's a huge issue and it's guys' livelihoods you are talking about.

"I used a short putter in a tournament earlier this year and will add it to the bag after the majors this year."

And Els dismissed talk of potential lawsuits.  

"They have made the decision and we have to go with the ruling bodies." he said. 

"They are looking out for the best interests of the game in the long run."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
May 2013:
Anchoring of putters to be banned in time for Rio 2016