Why Adam Scott's loss bodes well for the future of the long putter
By mustang6560 on 7/23/12
"Golf is a good walk spoiled". Mark Twain

Adam Scott held a four stroke lead in the final round of The Open Championship over eventual winner Ernie Els with four holes left to play. But, four bogeys on the last four holes and a birdie on the 18th by Ernie at Royal Lytham & St. Annes left him on the outside looking in.

The Australian has 18 professional wins, but he's yet to breakthrough at a major championship. It's not that he doesn't have the talent, he's just failed to get it down. He's finished T2 at the Masters in 2011 and T3 at the PGA Championship in 2006.

While the rest of the media is concerned about quantifying Adam's "collapse" on the last four holes yesterday (Is it the biggest collapse in major championship history?), I've been discussing the issue of the long (and belly) putter and it's future in the game. I read an article Friday in which John Huggan said he couldn't root for Adam for two reason: 1) Adam uses a long putter and 2) Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' former caddie, is Adam's current caddie. I could care less about the dated drama between Tiger, Adam, and Steve. I'm interested in Adam's long putter and what his collapse means for its future in professional golf.

I think it was Peter Alliss who said during ESPN's broadcast that the long putter should be banned because it gives golfers who use it a significant advantage on links style course because you can steady yourself in the wind. Well, Peter, I guess the added "steadiness" didn't help Adam.

If a long putter gives a golfer such an advantage on the putting green, why did Adam miss several putts in the final round of The Open? The two most notable putts, in my opinion, that he missed were on hole 1 and hole 18. Adam had a chance to send the third major of the year into a playoff on the 72nd hole, but he was unable to convert the short range putt. Why? Because regardless of the length of the putter, the shape of the head or the grip or putting stroke of the person using it, if you don't put the ball on the right path at the right speed, you're not going to make it.

The USGA and R&A, golf's ruling bodies, are expected to make a ruling on anchoring by the end of the year. And while I don't expect to see it ruled as non-conforming, I hope whoever is in charge of debating the issue reviews the broadcast of The Open. The fact of the matter is if you're putting well, you're going to make everything regardless of which kind of putter tickles your fancy. And if you're not putting well, a long putter is not going to help.

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Image via Flickr, Hone Morihana

[ comments ]
mjaber says:
Golf's ruling bodies will not be making a judgment on the length of the putter. Rather, they will be making a ruling about achoring a club to your body to make a stroke, accoring to what I have read. It won't ban the belly putters, or the broomsticks, but rather attempt to more clearly define the method of making stroke.

chief_broom says:
Ernie won using a belly putter.
birdieXris says:
@chief_broom - +1
onthefringe says:
Nice one chief_broom, I was about to make the same point!
mustang6560 says:
@mjaber- I updated my post accordingly.
Backquak says:
me too!
the belly putter helps keep the hands out of the stroke so you are less likely to pull or push a putt, but you still have to pick the line and the speed, I switched my son to a belly putter because he was hitting putts way offline and it has helped him understand that he has to keep his hands still.
joe jones says:
Most oobers know my position on long putters so I'm not going to belabor the point. I looked very closely at the way Scott uses the long putter and it appears to me that his right hand and arm are too high on the shaft to be effective.The point of this stroke is to create a pendulum with the right hand. In order to do that the hand must hang almost straight down to swing the putter with a repeating stroke. Scott uses a piston stroke with his elbow too high on the grip. It causes one too push the putt. Most of Scott's misses were to the right. Any comments from long putter users?
joe jones says:
By the way. I also share negative feelings for Steve Williams. He is one of the biggest jerks in the world.
woobwoob says:
he missed the putts because he can't handle the pressure on Sunday. Long putters create an extra anchor point that was never intended, and therefore is not a pure stroke.
tdames says:
He missed the putt cause he miss read the line. Anchored putters should be banned for the PRO's.
PKT says:
Adam Scott lost the Open because he made bad shots on the last holes, apart from the lip-out on 16. His play into the greens on 15 and 17, and his tee shot on 18 led to putts that were hard to make regardless of the style of putter he uses. Mustang, I think you hit the nail on the head with, "regardless of the length of the putter, the shape of the head or the grip or putting stroke of the person using it, if you don't put the ball on the right path at the right speed, you're not going to make it."
mmontisano says:
a long putter doesn't show up in the all important stat, strokes gained, until James Driscoll and Carl Peterson share the 12th position. the long putter is a placebo. it doesn't make you a better putter.
Backquak says:
+1 badcaddy, that's exactly what they should look at, and if the long putters gave an advantage, then the players using them would be at the top of the putting stats.
Banker85 says:
Ernie did use a belly putter but he was almost dead last in putting for the week. I heard out of the 80 that made the cut, on sunday near the end of his round they said he was like 76/80 in putting. He missed a lot of putts.
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