Golf’s ruling bodies – the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland – tomorrow is expected to announce they will ban the “anchoring” of long and belly putters. That is, players will not be allowed to pin any part of the putter against their bodies or even wrap the grip in their shirts. When the ban will take implemented isn’t known, but it’s generally assumed it won’t be before 2016.
Major champions, such as 2012 U.S. Open winner Webb Simpson and 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley, are among the more visible players who use long and belly putters. Proponents of the putters say they help steady the stroke; opponents say they’re an aid that shouldn’t be allowed, much like creating a stance with a foreign object.
Tiger Woods has been an outspoken – and one would have to assume influential – opponent of long putters and belly putters basically because, they don’t promote a swing as do the other 13 clubs in a players’ bag.
“I just believe the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves,” Woods said today at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge near Los Angeles. “Having it as a fixed point is something that’s not in the traditions of the game. We swing the other 13 clubs. I think the putter should be the same.”