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« Liberty National Largely Undamaged By Sandy | Main | Now Ernie's Gut Tells Him Anchoring Ban Is Wrong? »
Thursday
Nov012012

"Some recreational golfers can't play the game without a long putter. I think that would be a shame if they're going to take people away from the game."

Adam Scott tells SI that the long putter has taught him to putt with a shorter putter again even though he hasn't switched back.

Still, he's not excited about the forthcoming rule change for the sake of some everyday golfers.

"They've got to look beyond professional golf. The governing bodies don't run the Tour; they run golf. Some recreational golfers can't play the game without a long putter. I think that would be a shame if they're going to take people away from the game. I'm sure that's not their intention, but it'll be interesting to see what they come up with.

"[The rule change] seems like it's being pushed by some players, so could we push for the rules to be changed on other clubs-hybrids, for example?"

I'm not sure about that analogy.

Alan Bastable also interviewed Scott about a variety of topics, including his tough loss at Lytham in the 2012 Open Championship.

No, I wasn't upset like that at all. I wasn't even really mad. I was just so happy to play great in a major. Eighteen months ago I got my head really stuck in the process of getting better and taking my game to that level where it can hold up for four days in a major. The process became as enjoyable as any result I had over the last 18 months. I loved the practice. I loved the work I did with Brad [Malone], my coach. He committed 100 percent to me. And we both took it by the neck and got into it. I was really just so happy to see the results of what we set out to do. But, no, there were no tears at all.

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Reader Comments (42)

So if some recreational golfers can't play without a long putter, that would mean it's a club that makes putting easier. That would contradict those who say a long putter doesn't give an advantage.

On the amateur level, I don't think it should be against the rules however. Give hackers extras to make the game more fun. Pros - if you can't control your nerves on the putting green, then find a new line of work.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
Where are these recreational golfers who can't play without the long putter? They managed fine for over 150 years.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
Traversing the many munis of my area (Sacramento), I have seen more lately,but still very few long putters in the bags of the recreational players.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjeff
Play away with the broomstick folks...just don't post a score on GHIN. Big deal.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
People managed fine without mobile phones and the internet for over 150 years too. Ban em.
11.1.2012 | Unregistered CommenterUnderTheChin
I'm with Clayts 100%
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchico
Jeff, on what specific statistical evidence do you base your statement that "a long putter (gives) an advantage"....? Please provide the specific numbers.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Hmmm. The past week or so has seen some pros who use the long putters/anchors/fulcrum machines/etc making statements to the effect that it actually helps them with their conventional putter stroke mechanics and feel....sounds like a teaching aide to me.

Easy to ban it then...there's already a rule in place USGA/R&A!


On the flipside, playing the Devil's advocate here, wasn't there an argument 20+yrs ago for the long broomstick putter that it helps people with bad backs since it eliminates the need to bend over as much. It was also argued that it helps one practice for longer periods of time. So....that to me says that the top hand anchoring method CAN fall into a "medicinal" golf aide which can be argued should be allowed in order to allow golfers to play/enjoy this game.

In anycase, the TPTB are in a tough spot, no way everyone will be "on board". They better top up their legal retainers ;-))
11.2.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
That's a delusional defense. I'm with Clayton - where are these recreational players that would "quit" when the long putter is banned? I've used one on and off in competition and fared quire nicely with it, but do I think I may quit when it's banned? Puh-lease. I've seen very, very, few long putters in the bags of recreational players around Chicago...and I would propose that those that make the switch are so nuts about golf to begin with, that there is no chance that they would quit when it's banned.

This is not an endorsement of the long putter or a support of the ban...but to say that it is going to have an impact on participation is completely bonkers in my opinion.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H
I am at the range or on a course 3 or 4 days a week. While I usually play the Tampa city courses, I also get to TPC, Saddlebrook, Innisbrook, Jovita and World Woods, amongst many others. In other words, I see a lot of different golfers at many different venues catering to many different skill levels and income ranges. Despite such a sample set, I could count the number of people I have seen using long putters on one hand.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTampaGolfer
A cry for help, this time from the other side of the coin. Els & Scott had them so bad they would twitch at the sight of anything approximating the length of a yardstick. On the other hand, Keegan "litigation" Bradley was nothing special on the greens until he started putting with golf's version of a body fat caliper. Given the number of long/belly putters on the greens today, I'd say Adam's flock is considerably smaller than Keegan's.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
DTF, It's not based on statistics. It's based on the fact that a professional golfer who uses one (who had self acknowledged problems putting previously) is stating that "Some recreational golfers can't play the game without a long putter." Why would he think that? It's because he understands that at times, when putting, players have difficulty controlling their nerves and/or mind to make a consistent stroke. That's the issue.

Every player is different and trying to use statistics to figure out whether it gives an advantage for such a limited sample size of players who use one isn't necessary. To me it's not about a player switching to one and shaving .2 total putts off his average for the year. It's about players who feel they don't have the mental fortitude to make a good putting stroke under pressure without anchoring their putter. That's a part of the sport.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
I do not understand why there is all this hoopla over long putters when we are allowing these guys to use space-age drivers that completely change the way courses are played. The putter issue is minuscule compared to that. COME ON PGA TOUR, get with the program! Of course, they never will because long drives are sexy, but do you get my point?

Also to those who say the long putter is a training aid - so is the medicus, but am I likely to switch from my R11? Not in a million years. Just because it helps certain people with their feel does not mean it is an UNFAIR advantage on the course.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKyle
I don't know a single recreational golfer who uses a long putter.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
I think the true test to see if the longer putters should be banned is to make everyone who uses them play a season with the standard length putter and look at their results compared to when they used a long putter. But as long as there legal the guys using the long one won't change cause it helps their game MENTALLY. I compare it to drug testing. They are 2 in the same giving a mental edge to them.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterViz
So using a long putter helps people with back problems? How do those players deal with teeing the ball up or picking the ball up when needed? I'm guessing the golf swing in general does a lot more harm to a bad back than using a conventional putter vs. long putter.

If they are worried about recreational players leaving the game...then they should worry more about pace of play at the professional level. Recreational golfers emulate the pro's and when the pro's take 3 minutes to line up a 10 foot putt...that trickles down to the recreational players. I know TONS of golfers that don't play golf anymore due to pace of play issues, probably about a 1000:1 ratio compared to those who would leave the game if they couldn't anchor a putter.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
To paraphrase from above: "Where are these recreational golfers who can't play without the <460cc metal drivers, space-age ball, etc.>? They managed fine for over 150 years."

We also did quite well with bayonets back then too, to make a hopefully humorous political reference.

Full confession time. Ol' Pete the Luddite went to the looooong broomstick putter a month or so ago. Does it help my putting? Absolutely. Why do I "need" it? I suffer from occasional tremors in one arm that cannot be controlled during slower motions. Nerve damage from an old sports injury. It's frustrating to putt wonderfully for several holes, and then see the putter jack about 30 degrees off line. Am I cheating the game? You can make your own argument. Using the broomstick putter, WITHOUT anchoring to my chest or chin, has helped reduce the effects of my tremors when putting. Fortunately, it doesn't affect my golf swing for driver, irons, and wedges, since the swing speed is much higher and uses fuller arm and body motion.

As a nearly lifetime resident of Shack-Land, does this get me put in Shack Jail? I don't think it should. I would argue, vigorously, that the long putter is no more an improvement device than cavity back irons, juiced up balls, and the massive drivers we all use. I would be in favor of dropping the belly putter since it doesn't produce a "purist" swing motion by jabbing it into one's gut. The broomstick putter, though, has merit, in my opinion, and can be used with a real swinging motion, as I do.

In the big picture, what is affecting The Game more? I don't think it's the belly putter. That's not the piece of equipment that's affecting course design and length. Let's attack the real problem first.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
This "either or" argument is really specious. Started by Webb "Belly Putter" Simpson recently and now echoed by people in the blogosphere, it in now way addresses the concern that anchoring the putter is not a legitimate stroke. Geoff has been very consistent in objecting both to extreme distance and belly putters. (Although I believe he places too much blame on the ball, when clubs and shafts are playing a huge part in the 340 yd. 3-wood!!! era.) One can object to the belly putter without having to also support oversize titanium drivers and 5 piece balls.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott R.
I think many "recreational" golfers will continue to use the long putters they are currently using. A ban won't affect them at all.

These pros act like the USGA is going to round up and melt down all the long putters they find.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott
TampaGolfer, I've had the same experience in he NY metropolitan area, almost never see anyone (else;) with a longer putter.

So, back to he question at hand, if widespread adoption is not taking place, and zero statistical evidence exists at the pro level that those using longer putters have an advantage over those that don't, why ban longer putters now?
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF-

In my opinion, the drive to ban it puts an air out that the organization is doing *something* about the game. They're not addressing the real problem, but providing a nice red herring to distract from the big issues.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPete the Luddite
What Pete says.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
DTF,

I think the issue is that it changes the fundamental way that a player "swings" the putter. Say what you will about 460cc drivers, cavity backed thin-faced irons or hybrids, a player still has to swing the club to hit the ball the same way they did with older style clubs. However, just about anything that changes the nature of the swing itself (such as Snead's straddle putting swing) has been banned, whether justifiably or not.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTampaGolfer
Pete, that sounds about right.

Tampa, your observations may be correct but if I'm not mistaken Rocco won Doral in 1991 with the long putter, that was a long time ago, so why now?
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Based in most information out there, the R&A seems to be the organization that had the laissez faire attitude on on equipment over the years. They were not all that vocal for limits on driver size, COR, shaft length, etc. as the USGA made these proposals...and the "British" ball (smaller and longer) used up unitl 1990 was not approved by the USGA.

So for those who feel that equipment has been allowed to overtake the game, the R&A may be the most to blame.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve
Naysayers need to separate the facts. There are long putters and belly putters and there is anchoring. The ban that would most likely be proposed is on anchoring not the length of the putter.

If people have a bad back they still don't have to bend over, they just have to 'not anchor'
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
Matt A, why now on the anchoring?
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Not sure I understood your question so here are two answers depending on your question:

1) I've always been against anchoring not necessarily against the length of the putter (see my other comments)

2) As for why others are against the anchoring now (USGA, R&A)? Because someone finally said 'Gee, a real putting stroke is not being made when the putter is anchored to the body.
11.2.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
Ok, let's go with your answer #2. Over 21 years passed between Rocco's Doral win, and Ernie's Open win.....

.....and they are just now delivering a "GEE"? What prompted the "GEE"? Was it that they were taking their time and decided a 21 year study was in order before drawing any firm conclusions? Or was it something else?
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Ok, let's go with your answer #2. Over 21 years passed between Rocco's Doral win, and Ernie's Open win.....

.....and they are just now delivering a "GEE"? What prompted the "GEE"? Was it that they were taking their time and decided a 21 year study was in order before drawing any firm conclusions? Or was it something else?
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
i think you nailed it with the 21 year study.
11.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
So it took 21 years for them to decide that a change was in order. You're main point seems to be that no sport has ever made a rule change in the history of that sport - which isn't true.

Anchoring does help steady the stroke; people that use the putters know this, people that don't use the stroke know this and that is why they are considering banning anchoring of the club. No study needs to be made it's obvious to all but those who have seen it.

We'll just have to disagree.
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
Matt A, what I'm trying to isolate is the exact *catalyst* for making this change now. Anchoring has been legal forever and actively used for several decades at a minimum.

Exactly what changed to prompt action on it now?
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
DTF: I'm going to try and take a stab...with an analogy/metaphor.

WHY they are contemplating a ban NOW is much like when in a big family (ie: golfers around the world) allows one of it's children to bring home a stray animal because they felt sorry for it. All is OK in this isolated incident (ie: the original long putter/fulcrum-rolling-machines), but this is a BIG family in the Catholic mold, and soon 2 other children are now bringing home various strays which is putting stress on the entire family since they all suffer from various allergies but some more than others (ie: tendency to yip or not to yip)

Then...Momma and Papa have to set more "rules" for all to think about concerning how the animal should behave/act/controlled (ie: the ruling bodies of Golf). The other 10 or 15 children who did not take in any stray animals, and all along said not to, are required by the parents to play with the animals and take care of them to boot...which added even more tension to the situation. After 21 years of dysfunctional Thanksgivings/Xmas's and endless medical bills (ie: equipment lawsuits) the patriarch of the family laments that he should have paid more attention to the entire situation and wishes he just said 'NO!!' to the first child who brought a stray home and he dreams that he shot the poor creature right away instead of allowing it to enter his castle.

I know not the best argument...but it's the best I can do at the current place in our space/time continuum.

Anyways...The ruling bodies IMO are more embarrassed they allowed fulcrum putting in the first place which is why they're dragging their feet for so long. Oh...and Rocco was quoted he used the broomstick because of a bad back.

(caveat: I know Paul Runyan claimed to invent anchoring to the belly but that man was a freak in terms of short game prowess/creativity, he was like Tesla is to the modern world of electricity...so he's not exactly like other normal folks by a long shot)
11.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterjohnnnycz
@ Matt A

I hope you know I was joking with DTF
11.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
johnny, far and away the best explanation/analogy I've heard so far! But seems to me that would portend for a "grandfathering" of the current animals already in the household ;)
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@ Digsouth.

No worries my rebutal was to DTF
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
@Matt A

It's all good.

Actually, he asks a good question, but one that cannot be answered by us, unless a USGA Rules guy decides to fess up. Or, DTF is just a troublemaker. :)
11.3.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Here's my take on the time-frame. Ever been at a job where you're just a little guy and want to make a change but the upper management wont listen. My bet is that someone finally got into a position where the could initiate change.

Similar to the stories about how the old guards at the USGA\R&A let the ball and driver situation get out of control - now that someone else is in charge changes have started to be made.
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt A
Matt, do you know something we don't?

Seriously, was Nager secretly overthrown and Geoff quietly ushered in as a 5-term USGA President? Come one now, fess up if you know something....
11.3.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDTF

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