I think you can expect to see the sales of long putters to climb after the recent success of Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott. I’m leaning in that direction after a recent 30-minute practice session with a long putter. Bradley became the first player in history to win a major with his win in the PGA Championship and Scott won the previous week at Firestone and Simpson the week after in Greensboro.
Appearing before the media after winning the Wanamaker Trophy, Bradley said, “I think it’s an easier way to putt, especially when there are some nerves.”
Both he and Scott appeared very comfortable with their longer putters anchored to their bodies for stability through the stroke as each rolled in key putts, especially down the stretch, en route to victory.
In a move that suprised some, Phil Mickelson used a belly putter at TPC Boston. He did express some concern about his speed control on breaking putts, but appeared to like it for the straighter putts.
I’m sure some traditionalists are still cringing about the fact that long putters are being used. I still believe that the USGA and the R&A erred in allowing the long putters to infiltrate the game. The two rules makers put limits on driver length, the co-efficient of restitution, clubhead size, the moment of interia, the size of grooves, the spherically symmetrical design for balls and should have taken steps with the lengths of putters.
However, it’s too late now. The long putters are here to stay and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become more prevalent in the next 10 to 15 years than regular length putters for the game’s elite as it seems easier for younger players to make the switch than ones who have played for a long time.
It was more than the long putter that allowed Bradley–wearing red like Tiger Woods, displaying lots of smiles and emotions like Phil Mickelson and even leaning like Arnold Palmer did with his full swings–to claim a win in his first major appearance. It was an amazing feat to bounce back from that triple bogey on the 15th hole in the final round. “I just pretended it didn’t happen,” Bradley told the media. That would have been hard for most players to do.