By mustang6560 on 8/15/12
It looks like my prediction on the future of the long putter maybe wrong. Sean Martin, a writer for GolfWeek, tweeted the following yesterday.
@GolfweekSMartin tweeted: "Text from friend at #USAm: "Sitting in clubhouse listening to @USGA officials reviewing wording for long putter ruling." #SoThatsHappening"If Sean's "friend" is a reliable source, then the future of the long putter looks bleak. I'm not shocked by the rumor, however, I'm a little surprised. I figured the USGA and R&A would amend the Rules of Golf to permit anchoring as a style of putting because neither ruling body wants to create two sets of rules (one for professionals and one for amateurs) and if you ban anchoring for professionals, then you have to ban it for amateurs - or create a second set of rules.
It's not over until the fat lady sings, and we still have a few months before the fat lady is scheduled to sing. And even if the ruling bodies ban anchoring, the ban won't go into affect until 2016.
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Image via Flickr, Two Roses
[ comments ]
I don't think they are going to ban long putters, per se, but rather the act of anchoring the club to one's body.
@jrbizzle- I agree. I don't think they can really make a "length" limit on putters, since as has been discussed in other posts, a taller person might need a longer putter to simply stand comfortably.
I think what they are going to do is limit what part of the body the putter can be anchored to, and I think they are going to say that the "trunk of the body, from the hips up to the chin" is off-limits for anchoring.
From what I've seen, the long putter guys don't putt any better than anyone else.
@merlin- They may not putt better, are they better with the long putter anchored to their torso than they are with a "standard" putter without it being anchored? The anecdotal evidence points to "yes", with Adam Scott becoming relevant again with the switch. However, I don't have any actual stats to back that up (which is why I said anecdotal). I'd be curious to see what the putting stats are for the guys who have switched are for the year before they switched and the year after.
joe jones says:
The litigation line is already forming. What a stupid mess.
Duke of Hazards says:
i've read that any putting 'change', whether it be a different putter, different grip or putting style nearly always has an early benefit as it at least temporarily alleviates focus (and therefore stress/tension) on the result by distracting the golfer with something 'new' in the actual process. not sure how that applies long term to anchoring, since it's a fairly new phenomenon, but it's possible that we'd see a bunch of them switch back to short putters if they started to struggle.
I dont think we'll see 2 sets of rules. If they do, it will be a huge sh*t fest, because Peterson's penalty was because of a rule they introduced to limit amateurs carving out a better lie etc... half the rules the pros dont like are there to stop amateurs abusing the game.
I have a long putter because i'm 6'5" and the only reason it touches my stomach sometimes is because i haven't worked out with the rug rat and all other responsibilities... i'll have to get lipo if they change the anchoring rule :)
mjaber- if their stats didn't improve, they would still be using a standard putter, no one is going to change to something that doesn't improve their performance.
@Backquak... If the stats are flat, but there is an increased level of comfort with the long putter, I could see someone making the switch. Just like when you change from a blade to a mallet. Your putting might not get any better, but if it doesn't get worse, and you're more comfortable over the putt, it might help in other areas... I don't know.
Seems like if this was so great that everyone would be using it. Phil tried it and switched back to a regular putter. Is anyone atop the putting stats using the belly putter? The only one I know for sure uses a long/belly putter is Keegan Bradley at 15th for the Strokes Gained Putting stat. I just hope any rule change doesn't take effect before the end of the season. That would be unfair.
The earliest the rule would go into effect would be 2016.
...the Murseless says:
I can't wait to see the wording - especially for broomsticks, since they are only held by the hands and are not actually anchored to anything else. And if they are going to try to control how you anchor your hands or your arms, that's going to be interesting, too, what with many people already holding their arms against their bodies in different ways.
I don't think it matters if they are the best putters on tour. I would just be interested to see how the individual improved with anchoring. I'm not using real data, but if Adam Scott was 75th in putting and moved to 20th, that would be significant, even if he's not the best putter on tour.
This one is hard for me, but intuitively it seems like there would be an advantage in pressure situations to anchor. Maybe there's no difference early on Thursday, but late Sunday, when nerves are high, that crutch could be the difference. Who knows?
I also think this is much ado about nothing. Rory putted lights out with a "standard" putter last weekend. Anchoring the putter is great but you're anchoring it to your body and if your body moves then how is that helping? Are they going to rule on the various ways people grip a putter (the claw, cross handed, etc.).
I dont know if I see an advantage for Pro's to use a long putter. But I switched to a belly putter about 8 months ago and it makes a difference for me.
The difference I see is you can't mishit the ball (which I dont see being a problem for a pro anyways). As long as the putter is always anchored to the same spot on your body and the ball is always at the same alignment in your stance the result will always be the same. It is almost imposible to rotate the face of the club during the swing.
That is the only difference I see. And I wouldn't expect a pro to randomly rotate the club head when they are putting very often like amateurs sometimes do.
Oh that being said I think they should be made illegal. When something completely eliminates one aspect of the game I dont think it is good.
I've played 35+ rounds this year and often go as a walk-on and get paired with strangers, and I keep an eye on groups around me, and I've seen exactly one belly putter in use. Are long putters really hot among casual golfers? Add that to 50+ rounds last year where I think I saw zero long putters.
I know that's anecdotal. But if they ban anchoring I think pros would adapt, and casual golfers wouldn't care. Only club manufacturers seem to be at risk of going into panic mode.
Bryan K says:
Another stupid situation. I already lack respect for the PGA and the USGA because the lack of logic they employ when making and enforcing rules. Unless someone is enjoying a steep competitive advantage by using a belly putter, this whole point is moot. But if I know anything about the PGA and USGA, they are going to write some stupid ruling that is going to inadvertantly affect another aspect of the game, and we're all going to have to live with it.
Golf needs a new ruling body.
@jeffcroupier - i'm with you... I've only seen one long putter this year, and the guy didn't putt any better than anybody else in the group. I don't think anybody is really using them EXCEPT the pros. if anything, all this hollaballoo is just serving to help the club companies bring attention and sell a few.
Matt McGee says:
If I can anchor a putter against my midsection, can I put a belt on with a notch in the middle of it where the putter grip (coincidentally, of course) fits? It's ok to wear belts, right?
Good points in these comments. I think the belly putter is going to go away, and I'm ok with that. I think MJaber probably is close to the language they'll come up with (no anchoring between hips & chin).
joe jones says:
jeffcroupier. I think it,s both a locale and generational thing. Living in phoenix in a 50+ community there is a preponderance of both long and belly putters here. It seems to me seniors are not as up tight about the traditions of golf. They are more inclined to use anything that either helps with their golf or more importantly their peace of mind. Lousy putting can drive you nuts.
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