Belly putter: Totally unhip fashion faux pas or righteous cure for the yips?

When Adam Scott was in contention at the Masters, you just knew that a win by the Aussie would result in every other guy on tour adding a belly — or longer — putter to his bag. Scott, of course, didn’t walk away with the green jacket but his recent success (two top-10 finishes in seven starts) has certainly piqued the interest of his fellow competitors.

With Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas reportedly the most recent converts to the big stick as a way to cure their putting woes, is this the end of civilization as we know it, a viable cure for the yips, or just another fad that will flame out when everyone realizes it’s still all about operator error?

Els, by the way, apparently experienced nerves using the longer flat stick during Wednesday’s pro-am at the Heritage. Perhaps that’s because back in ’04 the Big Easy urged the powers-that-be to outlaw the beefy bat.

“I’m not interested in the belly-putter. It should be banned,” the Arab News quoted Els as saying when the South African was still a young pup of 38. “I think nerves and skill in putting is part of the game and you should take a tablet if you can’t handle it.”

Whatever the reason, Els, now an over-the-hiller at 41, sure won’t better his putting stats (159th in putting average and a ghastly 190th in putts per round) if he’s twitchy using the elongated pole.

The view from here is — big yawn. If it’s legal and you believe it helps, why not use whatever gets you to the next tee? Oh, and no one (other than Els) seemed to care much when Trevor Immelman, Vijay Singh, and other woefully uncool geeks shoved broomsticks into their guts or under their chins. Maybe it’s the idea of hipper-than-thou Villegas taking a turn with what Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard called a “6-pack putter.” Hey, even Spiderman (at least the one on Broadway) needs a safety net.

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