USGA Conferring with R&A on Spieth Putter Ruling

March 8, 2016

Jordan Spieth’s query seemed simple enough: could he wet his putter to help him with traction? The question came during the third round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral last Saturday. Though veteran players, analysts, and rules officials were present, no one had an answer. 

The USGA got involved, and with no specific policy already in place, eventually came back with a ruling. Spieth would be allowed to use his towel to clean his putter if the towel already happened to be wet, but he could not, say, lick his finger and rub his putter. 

The USGA added it would continue to mull the question further. 

USGA spokesperson Janeen Driscoll said the USGA has enlisted the input of the R&A, something they routinely do when it comes to long-term decisions regarding rules. Because there wasn’t a specific infraction—Spieth seemed to ask for a ruling before taking any action— the USGA wants to colloborate on a potential rule change. 

No decision has been made yet, but Driscoll says the sides are working through discussions.