"I think we do owe the golf world some kind of answer before year's end"
By mustang6560 on 6/22/12
In light of Webb Simpson's U.S. Open triumph at The Olympic Club Mike Davis, the executive director of the USGA, said the ruling bodies of golf plan to issue a decision on the controversial belly putter by the end of the year.
"The reason we're taking our time on this is because we want to do our homework," he said. "In the history of the game, this is a new type of stroke, especially since so much has changed in the last 18 months in terms of what we're seeing at all levels of the game, including what junior golfers are doing and how some teachers are suggesting this might be a better way to putt.

"It really boils down to whether we believe this is the right thing for the future of the game."

Davis did offer a timeline, however. "I think we do owe the golf world some kind of answer before year's end," he said. "At this moment, though, there is no decision and no votes have been taken. Nothing's been decided."
Just so we're clear, the fact that two of the last three major winners have wielded a belly putter has nothing to do with the perceived urgency of the ruling.

I fully expect that when the USGA and R&A do finally issue a ruling, they will rule in favor of the belly and long putter. Why? Because neither ruling body wants to discourage participation of current and future golfers, upset equipment manufacturers who currently profit off belly and long putters, and have to create separate rules for amateur and professional golfers.

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Image via USGA

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[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
No ban is my prediction. It's too entrenched at this point. If you really think about it a "belly putter" (terrible nomenclature if you ask me) does not violate the spirit of the rules. I don't see how the ball is not "fairly struck". I think people just have negative reactions to this style of putting because it flat out looks stupid and threatens to embarrass the image of the game.
joe jones says:
As one who uses a long putter but doesn't anchor it to anything but my hands I can't see how they can ban it just because it is long. If the reason is anchoring the putter to another part of the body it won't effect me in any way. If you think the threat of law suites over square grooves opened up a pan of worms , wait until you see the litigation that will happen from banning long putters.Every time there is a radical change in equipment, traditionalists go nuts. . If you are hung up on tradition lets return to hickory shafts, balata or gutta percha balls and all of the old time traditions like wearing plus fours, neck ties and jackets to play golf......Get over it!
bducharm says:
Not so fast my friends (as Lee Corso says) - separate rules are coming! We already have separate rules for wedges (and clubs for that matter) with regards to grooves. If you don'y play professionally or in USGA events, you can use "non-conforming" clubs. Also, I personally believe there will be 2 balls like 2 grooves. The USGA and PGA would really like to dial back the ball a bit. That is the one piece of equipment that has really moved forward the fastest. Don't be so sure that any club that is anchored to the body be made illegal in PGA and USGA events. We'll see this year I guess....
bkuehn1952 says:
I would accept a decision that eliminates the use of putters in measuring "club lengths" when taking relief. That at least levels the playing field in the one measurable difference between really long putters and more standard length ones.

My preference would be to not allow one to have contact with a club except with the hands and forearms and to not allow one to brace the hands or forearms against any part of the body except the other hand and/or forearm. However, as the beef correctly points out, the current "belly" and long putter techniques have become so pervasive that rolling back the rules will create a lot of heat.
mmontisano says:
belly putters in. long putters out.
CeeBee says:
All the comments here are good. Joe mentions long putters and the litigation that could follow. I agree. Joe and bk seem to agree on no contact to body other than hands or forearms. I agree with that too. I don't really care how long the putter is but it doesn't seem quite right to be anchored to the belly, chest or somewhere else. The commentators mention careers have been saved or extended because they had 'lost it' or developed the 'yips'. In baseball terms not being able to hit the curveball has ended most upcoming careers. Is life fair? NO. But they will allow it as the Beef thinks.
DCBILL says:
They should be banned. It should be illegal to anchor the butt of the club to anything... simple rule; the putter must be the shortest club in the golf bag.
joe jones says:
Length doesn't have a thing to do with anchoring. Go back to old films of Palmer, Player and Casper. They all "anchored " their left forearm on their left thigh while putting. At least admit that you want it banned because it looked ungainly or untraditional as Bobby Jones described it when he had croquet putting banned. If the final rule uses anchoring as the reason, people like me who use long putters will continue to legally use them because we don't anchor anything. If the rule is used to eliminate using a long putter for purposes of taking relief from a obstruction fine. Instead of using my 48" putter I will use my 46" driver. Big deal.
GBogey says:
Ban anchoring. Allow long putters. Put max limit on club length for purpose of "2 club lengths."
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