Gut Putt? Tut-Tut!

By Kerr-Dineen, Luke | Newsweek, March 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Gut Putt? Tut-Tut!


Kerr-Dineen, Luke, Newsweek


Byline: Luke Kerr-Dineen

A proposed rule sparks revolt in the golfing world.

When Keegan Bradley won the 2011 PGA Championship--one of golf's four major tournaments--he became the first player to win a major using what's known in the golfing world as a "belly putter." Since then, three of the past five majors, along with an increasing number of regular tour events, have been won by players using belly putters, and now authorities in the golfing world are stepping in.

After Ernie Els's victory at the British Open last year with a belly putter, the R&A and the USGA, golf's two governing bodies, put forth a proposal that would outlaw this style of putting, and they will decide in the coming months whether to implement the new rule (most seem to think they will). A majority tend to side with the change, but for others the new rule is nothing short of tyrannical, and they have been taking their cases to the public and in town- hall-style players meetings.

"Now we're making rules for the betterment of the game based on zero evidence? Incredible," said Adam Scott, a professional golfer who uses a long putter, which is similar to a belly putter. "To say they will ban this after we've won majors is unbelievable," he added.

The crux of the argument in favor of the new rule is simple: belly putters make putting too easy. Whereas the length of a conventional putter is about 35 inches, belly and long putters can stem in some cases close to 50 inches, allowing players to "anchor" the butt of the club into their stomach or sternum when making their stroke. Proponents of the new rule say this takes the small, twitchy muscles in the hands and wrists out of play. …

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