Lusk: Pry it from my 'cold, dead hands'
Photos: Players that use belly/long putters
Here is a photo gallery of the PGA Tour, LPGA and Champions Tour players that use belly and long putters.
- Yes, I would favor a ban on anchoring a golf club 51%
- No, I would not favor a ban on anchoring a golf club 45%
- Doesn't matter, I will use an anchored club anyway 3%
2586 total votes.
Use a long putter? Since summer 2010
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Right after I stroked what might have been my 32nd putt in a qualifier for the 2008 Florida State Mid-Amateur Championship, one of my playing competitors casually told me that I wasn’t a very good putter. “In fact, you’re really bad.”
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Problem was, I had six holes left in a round in which I would hit 16 greens and take 48 putts. A 1-footer never looked longer. I wasn’t angry; I was lost, two exits past the yips on the expressway out of golf and back to fly-fishing.
Over the next two years, I tried cross-handed: no putts dropped. The claw: nada. Left-handed: nothing. Belly putter: nope.
I resisted the broomstick – I swear I did. I liked to consider myself a traditionalist, and I putted best (it’s a relative term) with a 30-year-old Bulls-Eye with a leather grip and rusted shaft. But desperate times called for desperate measures. Morals, schmorals: Give me that crazy-looking, extra-long, orange Ping monstrosity and let’s get it over with.
You don’t like it that I caved? Tough. Only players with a hickory Calamity Jane in their bag should look down at me and my putter.
I was certain I would putt no better with a broomstick. And I was wrong. Overnight, I went from truly horrible to merely bad. Since then, I have even become somewhat proficient. I had time to focus on things that actually matter in life, such as my chipping yips.
And now the USGA wants to take away my magic wand. Are you kidding me? So Keegan Bradley made a few birdies and won a PGA, and then Webb Simpson and Ernie Els won majors with belly putters. It’s stickball in a field. Who cares what the stick looks like?
Here’s a thought: Ban those damn major-winning belly putters and allow the broomstick. Nobody has won a big event with one of those.
As a matter of fact, they can have my broomstick when they pry it from my cold, dead hands or in January 2016, whichever comes first. I will use the long putter until the last possible date, and I will smile knowingly at those skins-game sandbaggers who call me a cheater.
To be honest, I have toyed with standard putters in the past few months, and I have realized that I will be a better putter than I used to be. I have relearned how to aim and what the putter’s path should be. I ought to be OK.
But I do worry about older guys like my dad, Larry. He has used a homemade broomstick on and off for years. At age 71 and after decades of riding around in B-52s for the Air Force, his bad back and sore hands are a problem during practice sessions with a short putter. He loves to kill time on a practice green, but a ban on long putters might rule that out.
You want to chase older guys like him out of golf? Well done, USGA. Well done.
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