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Golf: Ban The Belly Putter?

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

‘It's time to ban long putters’ writes John Huggan. And the subject was also mentioned by Ian Baker Finch while commentating during the final round of the Wyndham Championship.

Surfing the web for more golf news it appeared that there was above average interest on the Belly/Long Putter issue. A topic that under normal circumstances is only raised when bloggers and journos are stuck for a story.

Bernie McGuire suggests an explanation for the heightened interest.

‘In the wake of wins by Adam Scott and Keegan Bradley there is renewed scrutiny over the validity of using long-handled or belly putters…Scott wielded a ‘broomstick’ putter in capturing the biggest tournament in his career, WGC – Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, and a week before Bradley tucked an Odyssey ‘Sabertooth’ putter into his belly to capture the PGA Championship in Atlanta.’

As to the benefits and possible banning of the Long Putter Bernie writes. ‘My good friend and journalist colleague, Vartan Kupelian spoke to a number of players at this week’s Champion’s Tour major at Westchester…Among those was Australia’s Peter Senior who was loaned a long-handled putter by Torrance and like the Scot, Senior proceeded to capture a golf bag full of titles.

Senior immediately reaped the rewards winning four times in 1989, and then winning so many other tournaments using the long-handled putter he named his flashy off-shore motor cruiser ‘Broomstick’.

“All of a sudden everybody was on to me,” Senior said to Vartan in his article on…“They were saying it should be banned, it’s cheating, all this sort of stuff. But I’ve putted badly with it as well. There’s no recipe for good putting. You’ve still got to work out the line. You’ve got to hit it well.”

Point well made Peter and food for thought for those golfers who feel inclined to rush out and buy one.

Bill Fields writes, ‘Long putters rule the day at Westchester’. And his article also makes reference to Peter Senior. ‘Neither Senior nor Sluman believes the models will be outlawed at this juncture, even after Bradley making history with one in a regular major. "Eventually, somebody was going to do it," Senior said of Bradley's historic win. "It was going to happen."

"There's a chance of everything happening, but I don't know why [there would be a ban]," Sluman said. "You can still miss with it. Until everybody is winning every tournament with that type of putter ..."

Given the USGA and R&A’s reluctance to make significant changes on more important matters like doing something about the necessity to lengthen golf courses because of technological improvements in golf balls and equipment. Banning the Belly/Long Putter won't go beyond subject matter for “bloggers and journos are stuck for a story.”

Here’s the links to John, Bernie and Bill.  

Quote of the day

‘It isn’t golf. It isn’t a golf stroke. If I were the emperor of the world, I wouldn’t allow it.” – Tom Watson’s thoughts on Belly/Long putters



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