Why? I can’t shake the feeling they’re sort of cheating. I know, I know--they can legally use these weapons of mass money-making for another 16 months to fatten their bankrolls, but I’d have more respect for them if they returned to conventional putting immediately.
Major winners Keegan Bradley (2011 PGA Championship), Webb Simpson (2012 U.S. Open) and Adam Scott (2013 Masters) along with senior tour stars Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples come to mind as renown belly-putter proponents.
I like their games…don’t hold personal animus toward them…I just detest this putting style. Maybe that’s why I bellyache so much. I did give it a thorough try once--10 whole minutes--the longest, most uncomfortable time in my life, missing every putt attempted. From that point, I bid belly putting bye-bye.
The supreme rulers of golf, the United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient, exorcised anchor/belly putters from the body of golf last year.
In some respects, I loathe siding with these stodgy codgers, the protectors of golf tradition. This isn’t the first time the terrible twins have raised a fuss over putting. Forty-six years ago, they banned croquet-style putting used by Sam Snead in his attempt to overcome the yips.
The USGA deemed the between-the-legs croquet stroke “too bizarre,” while Bobby Jones said it didn’t look like golf. Tradition ruled over putting practicality. When the ban took effect on Jan. 1, 1968, the 50-something Snead switched to side-saddle putting and heard no further nays from the USGA and R&A. The Slammer successfully competed on tour well into his 60s.
Now, a half century later, I suggest players take immediate steps to wean themselves from belly putters. I don’t know if I can stomach seeing the extreme delirium tremors these great golfers may exhibit if they wait until 2016 to go cold turkey.