Thick skin, including
around the ears.
Fireworks? Maybe, maybe not...
By Torleif Sorenson on 1/22/13
PGA Tour players have a chance to "belly up" to the proverbial bar today in San Diego, as they meet with USGA executive director Mike Davis. The ban on anchoring putters is likely to be on the agenda, although nobody is forecasting a change in the USGA's decision - in fact, some are predicting that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and the tour's Policy Board will enforce the ban long before January 1, 2016.

Among the reasons the anchoring ban is relevant is because three of the five most recent major winners won with a long putter. Stewart Cink told the Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner the following:
"...when I was putting with a long putter, one of the reasons I switched back was that I had a hint in the back of my mind that the long putter had become a slight crutch, and I felt like I was depending on it because it was just a little bit easier to use. I'm not saying it's easier to use; you still have to putt great to be effective with it. But it's one of the reasons I switched back."
There's only one problem with that comment: Cink has not won since the 2009 Open Championship.

Is Davis likely to hear some criticism over the potential derailing of the careers of major champions Cink, Webb Simpson, Ernie Els, and Keegan Bradley? Possibly. But Davis is already facing criticism from amateur and recreational golfers who have switched to the long putter for a long list of reasons, including trying to mitigate back pain while on the course. For this reason, the debate and the possibility of bifurcation is probably not over.

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[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
"....for a long list of reasons, including trying to mitigate back pain while on the course."

I think that's a little bit of a stretch to try and say that anchoring a long putter relieves strain on the back. Bunk. IMO, not a valid argument for this one. The ban is on anchoring, not the length of the putter.
1/22/13
 
mantajim says:
Sorry BirdieXris, but until you've had to put up with back pain while putting, you don't have much of a say, and it's obvious you don't and I hope you never do. But, with a long putter I can practice putting without back pain for 30 minutes or longer. With my 35' putter I've got to stop after about 10 minutes. BUNK TO YOU!!
1/22/13
 
mmontisano says:
you're basically in the same position putting as you are when you swing. so instead of holding the position when you practice putting, stand up after the putt and relieve your lower back, then get back in position like you do when you practice your swing. the back pain sounds like it's self inflicted.
1/22/13
 
mantajim says:
The back pain is from years in the construction business and being 61 years old. I'm able to stand much more upright with a long putter. It's just a matter of physics. Bending over just a few degrees increases the pressure on your back exponentially. If you're young and fit and without back pain, I envy you. Do everything you can to prevent such pain, it's no fun. I play regular rounds with about 25 guys, all about my age. Of those 25 there are at least 7 that have some type of back surgery. From titanium rods implanted to nerves burned to relieve their pain. Not all but many use long putters to reduce the pain.
Oh yes I guarantee you, I straighten up after each putt. Ask Freddy Couples about back pain. Bunk you
1/23/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
MantaJim: Your response is extremely valuable and informative. And I wish I could pick your brain for some renovation ideas here at "La Cueva del Tor" / "TorsHulen"... with you directing from a comfortable chair, of course!
1/23/13
 
Backquak says:
As a Chiropractor, I have to say, mantajim, come see me, I can help you. There are some things you can do to help strengthen your back to help take pressure off of your spine so that you can play pain-free. Some simple Yoga "plank" poses are great for your core and really take alot of pressure off of the spine. Putting practice is hard on my back too. It's not a good position to be in for long periods.
1/23/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Alright! *NOW* I understand what "BackQuak" means!
1/23/13
 
mjaber says:
Cink won the '09 Open Championship with a short putter, went to the long putter, didn't win anything, and is now back to the short putter... hmmmmm...

The rule itself doesn't affect me, but from what I've read, no one can point to a drastic improvement in putting with the long putters. All of the evidence I have seen is anecdotal and not backed up by statistics. I think the "Powers that be" have screwed this one up, just like they did with the grooves.
1/23/13
 
joe jones says:
Tor. When a regular guy say,s his back hurts you question his validity but when a Chiropractor agrees you accept it as fact. Humm!!! No one can understand how another man's feet hurt unless you walk a mile in his shoes.I had a spinal fusion in 1997 and my back still hurts when I practice. I went to the long putter in 1970 not to relieve back pain but to try to find a cure for the "yips". Relieving back pain is just a very welcome bonus.
1/23/13
 
mjaber says:
@joe jones... I'm confused. The way I read it, Tor accepted mantajim's explanation, and even offered him a job supervising renovations on his house.

I think you have confused his "BackQuak" comment with a recognition of the validity of mantajim's pain.
1/23/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
MJaber is right; I was talking about Backquak's moniker, which is a clever reference to his profession. Not only do I *not* doubt MantaJim's back pain and absolutely believe that he has every reason in the world to continue using a long putter, but I also hope I never suffer from the chronic pain he has endured for decades. MantaJim, my respect and my sympathy, sir.
1/23/13
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Joe Jones, same for you, sir - I hope I never have to undergo the pain and resulting surgery that you have experienced. It is because of thousands of golfers like you and MantaJim that I personally feel the USGA made a serious miscalcuation in their recent ruling.
1/23/13
 
joe jones says:
Thank you
1/30/13
 
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