Bernhard Langer believes jealousy among some of his Champions Tour peers has had a role to play in the anchoring debate.
The 59-year-old, along with fellow long putter user Scott McCarron and governing body the USGA, were forced to issue statements last month strongly rejecting claims of anchoring, which had become widespread on social media.
Brandel Chamblee, the Golf Channel analyst, called the enforcement of the anchoring ban ‘appalling’ while posting pictures of Langer’s putting technique, while competitor peer John Daly called the rule ‘vague’.
But Langer, who is paired alongside Daly for the opening two rounds of the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl, believes there wouldn’t even be a discussion about him or McCarron were they miles down the Order of Merit.
“It's human to be jealous, let's put it that way,” the German, who is searching for his third senior major of the year this week, told the Telegraph. “If I was No.180 on the Money List, I don't think anybody would be talking about it.
“But I've been No.1 the last few years on a regular basis, and now Scott McCarron is having a lot of success as well. We're actually No.1 and No.2 on the Champions Tour. So you're going to have people, you know, being jealous or whatever you want to call it.”
Langer added that the criticism he’d received has cast a shadow on what has otherwise been another stellar season and described some of the things said as ‘hurtful’.
“I’m a man of integrity and the last thing I want to do is break rules and be known as a cheat,” he added. “You have a few people on Twitter or somewhere else questioning my integrity, which is really hurtful. I can’t stop people talking. I can only control what I’m doing and I’m going to play golf within the rules and do the best I can.”