Recently, there’s been a lot of discussion over the longer putters, especially with four of the last five tournaments on the PGA Tour being won using one.
I read an article by Ryan Ballengee over at golfchannel.com in which #2 ranked pro golfer Lee Westwood weighed in on the discussion.
“If you’re going to adhere to the Rules of Golf, it states in there somewhere that the putter shouldn’t be anchored which obviously belly putters are. You stick them in your stomach,” Westwood said Wednesday from the KLM Open.
Westwood also stated that he felt it was likely too late for the governing bodies of the game to do something about the putters.
“But I think the horse has bolted now and it’s too late to shut the stable door. It’s here to stay, like the broom handle putter,” he said.
Paul Azinger, who is now a golf analyst and part-time player on the Champions Tour has a different opinion on the matter.
After a slump in his putting game, he gave the belly putter a shot in a mixed-team event in 1999. The following year, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii by seven shots using the belly putter.
“Until someone dominates with a long putter, what’s the concern?” Azinger said. “The gripe used to be that no one could win a major with the belly putter because it was a foreign concept. Now all of a sudden a guy wins a major with it, and now it’s an issue? That’s crazy.”
“When I changed it improved me immediately, and it allowed me to release the putter head better. I played in a Ryder Cup after I changed, I won a tournament with it, I went up in the world rankings. I’ll credit the belly putter for that because it changed everything for me.”
He goes on to mention that although it was beneficial to his game, it’s not a cure-all and that the ONLY cure-all was hard work. Gotta practice with it in order to improve.
His final comment is one I believe we ALL can agree on.
“There are enough rules and regulations in the USGA rule book that don’t make sense, but maybe they finally got one in there that maybe they should look at. But you are allowed to use the long putter and, again, I don’t see why all of a sudden it’s a problem.”
What’s your opinion? The Long and Belly Putters, are they USGA Compliant?