We answer your questions on the U.S. Open and more

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Q: When does the United States Golf Association ban on anchored putting go into effect?

A: In seven months, at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, just when you’re downing New Year’s champagne or kissing your spouse or date.

Remember, the ban isn’t against broom-handle or belly putters — it’s against the typical way they have been used. You can still use these putters but you can’t anchor them against your body. And you also can’t use them by anchoring a forearm against your body. The whole idea is that the essence of the game is to grip the club with your hands and swing it freely.

If you’re a person who just plays with friends and family and you don’t want to change from anchoring the putter, the golf gods won’t strike you dead if you continue. However, you will start getting some strange looks on the practice green.

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Q: What shot at Chambers Bay are you most looking forward to watching during the U.S. Open?

A: The tee shot on the par-3 ninth hole when it is a downhill shot. There is another tee on this hole that makes it an uphill shot. Tournament officials will decide which tee to use on which day.

I also am looking forward the tee shots on the par-4 16th hole if it plays as a driveable par-4. But if the wind is from the south and the tees are back, the hole won’t be driveable.

Q: Could a woman play in the U.S. Open?

A: Yes. She would have to have a handicap index of 1.4 or less to enter a “local” qualifier and then play well enough to advance to a “sectional” and survive there to earn a berth in the Open. It never has happened and probably won’t because of the length of sectional courses. It sure will be interesting if it does happen some day.

Q: What weather conditions would prompt a postponement in U.S. Open play?

A: Lightning means an immediate suspension of play. In 1991, one spectator was killed by lightning at the U.S. Open at Hazeltine National Golf Club outside Minneapolis and another was killed eight weeks later at the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club near Indianapolis.

The scarcity of lightning in the Northwest is another reason the USGA likes Chambers Bay.

For all other weather, the decision to suspend play hinges on the playability of the course, according to USGA spokesman Pete Kowalski.. He cites conditions such as heavy rain that causes standing water on greens or “wind to the point where the ball will not remain at rest.”

Q: What is the cut rule at the U.S. Open?

A: Top 60 plus ties. For example, if six golfers in the starting field of 156 are tied in 59th place after two rounds, the field for the final two rounds will be 65 golfers.

Q: I didn’t buy U.S. Open tickets and now tickets for all four days of competition are sold out. What can I do?

A: Welcome to what is called the “secondary market.” Look in classified sections and on-line at sites such as Stubhub.com. You can also try your luck on Craigslist, where one tip we read is buy from someone willing to meet you at their home rather than a neutral site. A scam artist doesn’t want you to know where he lives.

In any situation, expect to pay more than face value because of the demand.

Q: What movies and books do you recommend to get amped up for the U.S. Open?

A: “The Greatest Game Ever Played” is the 2005 movie about the stunning upset in 1913 by 20-year-old Francis Oimet (pronounced “we-MET”) to win the U.S. Open. The victory triggered a golf boom in America. “Tin Cup” with Kevin Costner is fun and has the Open in the plot. “Caddyshack” has nothing to do with the Open but is always a kick with several classic lines.

John Feinstein has written some of the best books on golf. “The Majors” is about the major tournaments of 1998, the year Sahalee Country Club hosted the PGA Championship. Feinstein’s “A Good Walk Spoiled” is now almost 20 years old but still remains a splendid inside look at big-time golf.

Q: Do you think Tiger Woods will win another major?

A: No, but I hope he does. No one makes a tournament more interesting than Tiger. But he is 39, injury-prone and has kept changing his swing. Also, there are too many other good players out there now — the result of the increased interest in competitive golf and big money in the sport thanks to Tiger more than anyone else.

Since Woods won his last major — the U.S. Open in a playoff in 2008 — 20 men have won at least one major.

As recently as last year, the question was, “Will Tiger with his 14 majors catch Jack Nicklaus with 18?” Now the question is whether he ever will win another major.