Gary Player All for Long Putter Ban
OK, I’ve dodged this long putter issue about as long as I can. Legions (well, all right, a couple) of readers have asked me what I think about the banning of anchored putters by the USGA.
Truthfully, I haven’t really given it a lot of thought. I’ve tried a long putter on the practice green but never in a round of golf. I thought it might have helped on those pesky little two- and three-footers, but never felt comfortable stroking a putt of any length.
Frankly, it has never bothered me that a golfer went long if he felt it helped. And when you’ve got good young players such as Webb Simpson, Carl Petterson and Keegan Bradley using the brooms, it’s hard to claim that there’s a stigma attached to it.
I never thought the long putter would be made illegal. Actually, my only thought when I saw someone using one was, “OK, this guy is a lousy putter.”
Of course, that line of thinking stemmed from the fact that most of the golfers using one were older and desperately seeking to find a cure for jumpy nerves.
A lot of guys aren’t nearly the wishy-washy wimp that I am, though, and have gone on record as saying they agree that the long putters should be banned.
Seriously, one of my all-time favorite golfers, the legendary Gary Player, held a teleconference prior to the playing of the iGATE CEO Cup at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass next weekend and made no bones about his objection to the sweepers.
“I’ve been advocating for years that they not allow the belly putter or the long putter,” Player said. “I’ve seen people hold the putter against their nose, against their chin, against their chest, and I think they should leave it for the weekend golfers.
“The weekend golfers need all the technology and anything else that will improve their game. So, I don’t think this ban should apply to them. I know they will tell me I’m wrong, but that’s my opinion.”
Player makes no bones about his reason for thinking the long putters should be banned. In fact, he doesn’t hesitate to put a name on the reason.
“Many, many years ago, Orville Moody had the yips so badly he couldn’t hole a 2-foot putt,” Player said. “He tried everything and nothing worked until he went to the long putter. All of a sudden, Orville became the best putter on the Tour.
“His nerves were so bad, and the minute he put the long putter in his hand, it took the nerves right out of the game. Today, you don’t have to worry about nerves because the long putter just takes them right out of it.”
Now wait a minute, Gary. A lot of people were happy for Ol’ Sarge when he conquered his demons on the greens and was able to win on Tour.
I recall back in the mid-60s when I covered an Azalea Open in Wilmington and watched Moody trying to find an answer on the practice green. He must have putted for an hour while his daughter rolled the balls back to him. He really was battling demons.
“Golf, in my opinion,” Player went on, “at least 50 percent of the game is nerves coming down the last nine holes of a tournament.
“And what the long putter has done, it’s just eliminated 30 percent of those nerves. To me, that’s a tragedy, because that is such an integral part of the game.”
Player is not only in favor of banning the long putter, but wants it done now.
“Why the R&A and the USGA said they were going to give them three years’ grace, I don’t understand. Why didn’t they just start on January 1 and get it done? You’re going to make the rule; get it done.”
Come on, Gary, tell us what you really think.
Player also went on record as saying golf courses are being built too tough.
“People hate it and the ladies don’t want to live on a course that’s too tough,” he said.
I’m not wishy-washy on that one, Gary. I’m still looking for an easy course, and I promise to use a conventional putter.
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