The Inevitable First PGA Championship Question: The Long Putter Debate

Now that a major championship has been won by a player receiving the full benefits of a long putter, the governing bodies can no longer point to the major losing streak as evidence of the long stick's lack of importance. (And in a case law sense, having a major won by a long putter probably makes it tougher to ban in the eyes of all the lawyers overseeing the rules of golf.)

As for the debate moving forward, Mike Johnson wonders out loud if there will be a run on the putters now that Keegan Bradley has shown how well they can work. He also digs up some wonderful comments from short game wizard Paul Runyan who once toyed with a longer putter way back in 1936.

Before last weekend's events, Golf Digest's Mike Stachura revisited the comments of USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, who told Golf Channel's Morning Drive: "We don't see this as a big trend. It's not as if all the junior golfers out there are doing this. No one's even won a major using one of these things anchored to themselves. So we don't see this as something that is really detrimental to the game."

And there was this from Davis's extensive comments:

"Yes, it's been looked at seriously. But if we did that [ban the long putter] and all of a sudden didn't do something else with equipment, I think a lot of people would raise their eyebrows and say, 'Wait a minute. You've done this and you didn't do something else?' So I think we're probably where we are."

Certainly that puts things in perspective, as the recent run of distance increases has been far more detrimental to the cost and skill factor than the long putter.

So would taking another look at the long putter/belly bracing at this point be inappropriate now that a major has been won by a player using one? Or is it more vital than ever to revisit at least the body-bracing element that still seems to antithetical to the notion of a "stroke"?