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Tom Watson Open To Bifurcating Rules Of Golf

From Steve Orme's report on Tom Watson, longtime traditionalist and passionate supporter of the Rules of Golf, sounds open to bifurcation after seeing how the belly putter kept his son interested in the game.

Asked if the USGA and R&A are on the right track, Watson said: "Yes, but I say that with mixed emotions.

"(A broomstick or belly putter stroke) is not a stroke of golf ... but it makes it easier to play.

"My son Michael, with a conventional putting stroke he couldn't make it from two feet half the time but he went to a belly putter and he makes everything.

"The game is fun to him now, so there lies the danger. Do we take the ability for people to have fun away?"

"Do we go to two sets of rules, where some people can use (long putters) in certain competitions but the PGA Tour maybe can't?

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Reader Comments (7)

Nobody said he couldn't use a long putter to play at his club wherever that maybe unless his group is opposed to playing against him using the training aid. He just can't play competitive golf in actual competitions with the broomstick.

Bifurcate? Cmon!
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterViz
“What’s been going on is such a serious departure from the fundamental requirements of playing the game. … Were was this in the rules of golf or in Richard S Tufts principals of golf that the belly putter or long putter is not a fundamental requirement of golf. Funny, I thought the fundamentals of golf was find the ball hit the ball. Up till probably the 70's, no one would have ever though of using a belly because you had to almost chip the ball to get it to the hole. Now with greens running 14, a different stroke is needed. Just like players adding loft to there driver because the ball spins less. I have posted here many of time, but a serious departure from the fundamental requirements of golf is also the 5 hour plus round, but heaven for bid they get rid of that.

I would love the PGA of America to tell the usga if this rules gets past, that the 2016 PGA championship will not be played by USGA rules.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered Commentermark
if he says its not a stroke of golf, then, its not golf that people are playing who use the long putter, by his reasoning
12.4.2012 | Unregistered Commenterchicago pt
I've been following the debate about this and other rules changes with interest, and what strikes me as strange is the assumption that making the game easier equates to making it fun. As long as the rules are reasonable--and it seems to me that either leaving the anchored putting stroke or banning it are each reasonable positions--a golfer can and should be able to test him or herself against the course or against other golfers, follow the rules, and still have fun. So what if the golfer misses a few putts with a conventional putter that he or she would have made with an anchored putter? That's golf, and that's why golf employs a handicapping system to make the competition fair.

Of course, the professional player, who finds that the anchored stroke has given him or her an advantage and for whom each stroke represents thousands of dollars, may have a legitimate complaint, especially since the anchored stroke has been in increasingly common use for more than a decade. The same may be true for the equipment manufacturers who depend on the increased sales of their belly and long putters. But golf is a game, and much of the fun derived from playing any game depends on seeing how well one fairs within the rules of the game, however those rules are construed.

It reminds me of the old story that most readers probably already know in which an American golfer is playing St. Andrews for the first time. On the first tee, he slices one into some nasty rough, tees up another ball, and hits it onto the fairway. He turns to his caddie, a gruff old Scottsman, and says, "Back home, we call that a Mulligan. What do you call it?" Without hesitation, the caddie replies with a tone of indignant disdain, "Three."
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn H. Jones
Funny how some people can be adamantly opposed to something until their children get involved with it. There are many correlations to make, politically and sociologically, from both sides of the political fence, but we all have our own favorite examples I'm sure.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWillie
I am fascinated by all of those folks that claim that this or that isn't golf or a golf stroke. They point back to some period of time of their choosing when the true meaning of golf existed and how it should be played was set in stone. When was that time? When the Scots began knocking around some semblance of a ball 500 years ago? Was it when Old Tom was winning the British Open? How about the 1950's that so many fair and balanced people think of as America's Golden Age?

These folks don't mind vericutting greens, genetically engineered strains of grass, waterproof shoes and gloves or many other advances that have been implemented. They do hate anchoring the putter. What's worse is that so many originalists don't believe in bifurcation. They are like those disingenuous strict constructionists on the Supreme Court that favor of the cops and corporations. They want to do away with the Exclusionary Rule and the EPA, but forget that stop and frisk was approved in the 1960's and the founding father's didn't own pig farms with 10 million tons of shit. So why do they oppose bifurcation? They want to preserve the illusion - more accurately, delusion - that they play the same game as the pros.

I have yet to hear an intelligent explanation for why bifurcation is anything but appropriate at this juncture. The pro equipment needs to be dialed back. Their equipment has altered the game for the worse as it has led to ever longer monstrosities that they will never play. Frankly, the pros have it easier than the ams. Not all the bunkers are raked where I play. The greens aren't as pristine. I don't get lift clean and place. I could go on, but you all get the point.

The caretakers of the game don't give a damn about us. Their hypocrisy and venality is apparent.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterFifth Column
Congrats GOLF - you've lost me, tired of new $500 drivers every 12 months, irons that I like from 4 yrs ago-grooves illegal; playing golf takes too long and costs too much....hello paddle boarding

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