The thing is, nobody gave much of a rip
about long putters until Keegan Bradley
went all sacrilegious on us by winning a
major championship with a putter stuck
in his stomach. Now, it’s all anybody can
talk about and, boy, are they talking.
The latest high-profile person to pipe
up is Vinny Giles, former player agent
and world-class amateur, who last week
called the USGA “gutless” for not banning
anchored putters. First off, Giles has been
using a long putter for eight years and
won the 2009 U.S. Senior Amateur using
Giles is 68 and the long putter has no
doubt extended his competitive years
longer than it would have otherwise. If the
long putter were banned tomorrow, well,
he’s had a great career and it wouldn’t
hurt him a bit.
To Giles’ credit, at least he qualified his
comments by making sure people knew
he uses one of the instruments he was
condemning. He even pointed out that
his comments were worth more because
he has benefited from a long putter and
clearly wasn’t making his case just to
help his own game.
Giles, one of the smartest and most
respected men in the game, is, of course,
entitled to his opinion. He long ago earned
his chops in the game and the right
to speak out. He’s not alone, re-
gardless of the fact that the dis-
gruntled are in the vast minority.
But note to anyone listening:
This is not a trend. A handful – a small
one, at that – of PGA Tour players are
trying long putters and it’s a good bet that
most of them won’t stick with it.
Bradley missed the next two cuts after
winning the PGA Championship. Adam
Scott hasn’t done much after winning the
WGC-Bridgestone Championship with a
long putter. Jim Furyk isn’t setting the
Tour on fire since switching to a belly
model. And Phil Mickelson hasn’t shot
more than one or two under-par rounds
since his experiment.
Webb Simpson is the most success-
ful user at the moment and he’s putting
so well because he believes that he will
make every putt he stands over.
As everyone knows, putting is about
attitude and confidence, not the instru-
ment you use. Ask Ben Crenshaw and
For the record, I’ve putted every way
you can putt. Long, short, anchored, left-
hand low, you name it.
I once shot 72
rst No. 2
handed with a Bulls Eye. I have witnesses:
Ask Ron Green Sr. and Dave Kindred. It
was the best putting round of my life.
If clubs and technology had not evolved,
you might have one of these in your bag.
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