European Mini Tour Bans Belly Putters
By mustang6560 on 9/6/11
The Gecko EuroPro Tour (who?) announced yesterday it is banning players from using belly putters until further notice.
Latest Rules UpdateI can't help but think this is the perfect publicity stunt. The hottest topic in golf right now--outside of Fred Couples using one of his captains' picks on Tiger Woods--is the legitimacy of the belly putter. So what better way to get the name of your mini tour in the news than to outlaw the use belly putter? See, we're talking about it here on oob.
The belly putter phenomena is nothing new, but its popularity has definitely grown in recent weeks as more and more players are starting to win with it. Webb Simpson at the Wyndham Championship and the Deutsche Bank Championship. Keegan Bradley at the PGA Championship. Heck, even Phil Mickelson decided to give the belly putter a whirl at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
It's time for the USGA and R&A to make a ruling on the belly putter. Does it or does it not conform to the rules of golf? Right now, the silence from the two major ruling bodies is deafening and it is only adding to the controversy surrounding the belly putter. I think they are waiting to make a ruling to see how many top players make the switch because it will be easier to justify it's conformity if players like Phil are using it. No offense to Keegan Bradley or Webb Simpson, but they don't have the star power yet.
Gecko EuroPro Tour
photo via Gecko EuroPro Tour
[ comments ]
I see no reason to ban the belly putter. you still have to read the green, judge distance, and execute. Phil did not look good at all with the belly putter.
I personally think they should ban it. Anchoring the putter to your belly does seem to help eliminate some potential sway in your stroke so it is unfair. Once again my opinion.
I'm torn. Golf will always be hard. But I think I'm with GolfSmith (and Bones) on this one.
I have no problem with any long putter, as long as it is not anchored into the body. As long as it is controlled by your hands away from the body, use it. As soon as you use a "third point" of stabilization, I think it does offset the intent of the game.
It always seemed to me that the USGA/R&A started down the wrong path when they looked the other way as players began anchoring putters to various parts of their bodies. The use of long and belly putters has grown to the point that banning them now would create a major controversy. I say ban the technique of anchoring a club to one's body (or anchoring one's hand to the body) starting in 2022. Give everyone 10 years to figure out a way to replace their current method.
Anchoring does make it somewhat of a different game. It works great for a billiard shot but not sure this is what everyone wants to see on their golf courses. It is a very touchy issue and probably always will be. On the one hand it doesn't seem to violate the primal objective of the game. Then again neither does croquet style putting which USGA had no problem banning. The problem here i suppose is that they did not nip it in the bud, they allowed the belly putter to grow and fester and establish itself within the game. If they ban now there will be a lot of very angry people and plenty of lawsuits I am sure.
@bkuehn: various parts huh. I'm gonna get to work on tomorrow's fad putting styles. Chin putter, forehead putter, nostril putter, armpit putter, cleavage putter (though Adam scott is already using this one). Eye-socket putter. The crotch putter. People have proven that they will go to ridiculous lengths in the hope of making putts so why not then.
I also think they should ban anchoring a club to your body. If someone wants to use a long putter, let them have at it, but not by anchoring it to a point on the body. If it was any other club I think they'd outlaw something like this so fast it wouldn't even be a story.
But with so many people using this method of putting, I find it hard to believe they will make a ruling against it.
Kurt the Knife says:
I think I need a Belly Driver.
How about straddling the line and using a pelvic thrust putter, tiger could be the next tiger woods with that apparatus.
@Legit: Keep it above the belt! :)
Non-issue, in my opinion. I think they should allow croquet putting, too. Allow ANY style of putting, it should be totally up to the player. Like Ben Hogan said, there's no similarity between golf and putting..so just let it be a free-for-all. Frankly it would make for more entertaining viewing to see what players could come up with.
Kurt the Knife says:
Yeah, Imagine Villegas doing his spidery-thing and whipping out a pool cue.
ahem....did I just write that?
I don't see an issue with the belly or broomstick putters. If it works, use it until someone tells you you can't. Just like the "grandfathered" Ping clubs.
If you get rid of the long putters, are you going to do the same for the super-short putters, too?
Since hybrids are easier to hit, I guess we should just get rid of all hybrid clubs as well....let's make everyone go back to hitting 1, 2 and 3 irons again...this whole "issue" seems silly.
Belly putters are cheating. Plus they are ugly and stick out of the bag too much.
Look at the statistics of the better putters on tour, and especially of those who switched. If there is significant bias or trend towards those who use belly putters, then something might need to be decided.
P.S. if Phil continues to use belly putter I will stop rooting for him :).
@mjaber: I believe the Rules of Golf specify that any club must be at least 18 inches long. All clubs other than putters may not exceed 48 inches.
Why not make everyone play the same clubs and ball then too??? Take away custom fitting, make everyone use the same off the rack clubs. Ridiculous right? Let them do whatever they want, however they want. If they can't win either way, then what does that say? Also, what are the stats of the long putter guys? Do they win because of their putting? I don't think so. I think fairways and greens are what win it for them. Take a look.
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