Dueling Divots: Long Putters
Dueling Divots, a lively “discussion” on relevant happenings in the game of golf, begins today in The Pilot’s golf pages. Howard Ward and Betsey Mitchell, who have voiced their sharp differences in opinion in several publications over the years, take on the long putter dispute in today’s battle.
Ward has written about golf for The Pilot’s golf since 1998, and Mitchell has been active in golf as a writer, publisher and rules official for several years.
Long Putters: Why Not You?
By Betsey Mitchell
Howard, dear Howard. If there wasanything to this nonsense about anchored putting, you would have had a six-foot putter duct-taped to your head by now.
The nerve of you besmirching my (shall we say) inconsistent putting skills! You are the most desperate golfer I know. A fact you have made clear so many times in these pages. And yet, you haven’t bothered with this weapon.
What I can’t figure out is why this putter has them all in a huff. Manufacturers have been producing golf balls for years that you couldn’t cut if you took an X-Acto knife to them. The perfected rescue clubs have made 3-irons extinct. Then there are the drivers with heads the size of toasters. The USGA continues to let these advances feed into the game with little or no comment.
These innovations in clubs and golf balls have been the ruin of golf course design. The USGA has actually sanctioned the reconfiguration of holes four and five of Pinehurst No. 2. Madness, I say. The fifth hole is one of the most confounding par-4s there is. Why would anybody want to mess with it?
But, I digress. If there is anything I have figured out about the minds at Golf House, it’s this: Once they have an idea in their head, there isn’t much anybody can do to stop them.
The only sensible compromise I have seen is from Dave Pelz (it kills me to say that). Pelz suggests that the anchored putter rules be relegated to the Local Rules section of the Rules of Golf. That way, the annoyance is limited to the Tour, and you are free to go get your supply of duct tape for this spring.
I know you want to.
Long Putters: Leave 'em Be
By Howard Ward
Well, Bets, here we go again. A new vehicle, a slightly new format and the same old game.
I try to be analytical, make a valid, sensible point, and you come back with some nonsensical off-the-wall drivel that drives me even crazier than I am already.
But I really want to see how you respond to this:
The USGA and the Royal Ancient or whatever have taken it upon themselves to ban anchored putters. In other words, the long putter that has saved careers and made competitors of golfers who were having trouble breaking par is eventually going be no more in USGA events.
The PGA Tour hasn’t yet come out of the closet on this sanction, which takes place in three years, but you can bet we aren’t going to have separate regulations for USGA events and PGA Tour events.
I mean, can you see Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley swapping putters or putting styles for the Masters and the U.S. Open?
Well, heck, maybe you can. Seems to me I recall you changing putters after your fourth stroke on a green a few months ago.
Seriously, Bets, it just rankles me a tad that the powers that be are getting their knickers in a wad about long putters now after they’ve been legal forever.
What’s the deal here? Guys using the long putter have diligently worked to perfect their strokes. Most of them have worked even harder than the guys using short putters.
So, I say leave ’em be. And besides, if they’re going to rule them illegal, why the heck wait three years. If they’re illegal, ban them now!
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