Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A compromise for the 'belly putter'

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Golf's "belly putter" discussion is getting out of hand, especially when current users are being called "cheaters."

The United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club announced in November they were planning to prohibit players from using "belly putters" because they are pressed against the body (chest or stomach) for stability. The USGA said it would allow 90 days for comments before putting the ban into effect for 2016.

The PGA Tour recently announced it was against the ban because there was no evidence "belly putters" offered an advantage.

Speaking before this week's Honda Classic, Keegan Bradley said he resents being called "a cheater" for using a "belly putter."

But Bradley is not a cheater, at least not yet -- the "belly putter" currently is allowed.

"Belly putter" opponents, however,  are correct when they say every golf club should be used in a swing, with no anchoring involved.

The solution?

Since the USGA and R&A waited too long to make a decision on the long putters, all golfers currently playing on professional tours and/or USGA and R&A sanctioned events should be allowed to continue putting the way they have.

Going forward, "belly putters" should be banned entirely for pros and competitive amateurs.

If weekend hackers want to use "belly putters," fine. After all, some of them ... us? ...  regularly take a few extra Mulligans or kick a ball to a better lie. For those players, the game should be fun.

For the pros and competitive amateurs, fairly or unfairly, it’s up to them to maintain the integrity of the sport.

Of course, I'm also against football quarterbacks and receivers wearing gloves. But that's for another blog.

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