The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

USGA missed the boat

I disagree with the USGA's decision to ban anchored putting, even though I've given up on that crutch myself after I discovered that I was just as bad with longer putters as I am with shorter ones.

Although long putters and belly putters are not banned, the act of anchoring them to your body is, and that means the longer putters are basically worthless.

This affects many professionals and amateurs alike, although the ruling won't take effect until 2016. Supposedly, that gives everyone time to relearn the normal putting stroke, but for some, it will just prolong their use of their current longer putters in hopes that the decision will be overturned in court. PGA Tour guys like Webb Simpson aren't going to give up their putters now if they can still make a lot of money with them.

I'm not sure why the USGA feels the need for this decision. It's not like putting averages are coming down in record numbers. A few top-level pros are proficient at the belly or long putter, but most of the best putters in the world like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy still use regulation size putters.

It seems to me that finding a way to limit the extraordinary distance that golf balls travel these days would be of greater concern to the top golf honchos. Pretty soon, the big hitters will be averaging 400 yards off the tee, and that could really change the game. Sinking a few putts with the longer putters won't change a thing.

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