The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club are expected to rule on the future of long putters and belly putters by year’s end. Chances are good that the ruling bodies will ban any kind of “anchoring” a putter to a player’s body or clothing. They could opt to ban putters over a certain length, say 42 inches, but that’s a less-likely scenario.
Either way, Webb Simpson says he’ll be ready. The U.S. Open Champion, who has used a belly putter since 2004, has been practicing at home with a smaller putter.
“If they are going to make it a rule for next year‑‑ I think they can’t really implement it until ’16 – so I’m going to be ready,” said at this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf. “I think it’s going to be a whole another ballgame to see if the PGA Tour bans it.”
The Tour’s Policy Board is scheduled to meet next March and is expected to at discuss banning long putters and belly putters. The Tour can make its own rules and doesn’t have to follow the USGA and R&A rules, but pigs fly when it doesn’t support the ruling bodies.
And on the subject of support, Simpson said the numbers – in his mind – don’t support a ban on long putters and belly putters.
“You look at the facts, and the facts last year, there was no one in the Top‑20 in strokes gained category that anchored a putter,” Simpson said. “So the argument of, it’s an advantage, you have to throw that out there. There’s a bunch of arguments going around but I haven’t heard a good one yet – so wait and see. But the final say is, I’m friends with a lot of the R&A guys and the USGA guys. It’s nothing personal and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game. But, I don’t think it’s a good decision.”