Frank, thanks for your weekly e-mails.
Your last blog about Tiger’s Drop stirred up some serious discussion. Do you have any more to say about it, having read the responses?
Also, do you think now that Adam Scott won The Masters with a long putter the USGA is going to finalize it’s plan to ban anchoring, in spite of the PGA Tour’s comment that they don’t like the proposal?
Columbia, South Carolina
Thank you for your e-mail and the double-barreled and loaded questions.
First about the Tiger Drop, I conclude that the rule 33-7 – giving the committee discretion to change the penalty — has complicated matters and not helped in this instance.
My opinion is unchanged, in that, if Tiger had disqualified himself for signing the wrong score card, because he – unknowingly — didn’t apply the rule correctly and admitted to such in the press room, it would have done him more good in the long run than winning The Masters this year.
With regard to anchoring; the proposed rule-change is cumbersome and ruling on how a golfer is allowed to hold and/or swing a club is unprecedented. This ambiguous rule change is going to be difficult to enforce and monitor for the administrators, and to interpret for those who need to have clarity in the rules, if they are to call infractions upon themselves.
The two alternatives are:
1. Make the putter the shortest club in the bag. This would, in my opinion get rid of the problem – if it really is a problem — which is really the “unsightly” long and belly putters, and more specifically the non-traditional use thereof. With a conventional length putter – the shortest club in the bag –it would be very awkward to use it in the offending manner which is causing the angst.
2. Don’t do anything, as it is not a performance issue – as stated by the USGA and R&A – but rather an unacceptable way to swing a club. Evidence indicates that the long putter has helped make some golfers putt better but has not made great putters out of good putters. The belly putter is not a long lasting band-aid for elite golfers as it adds sources of error.
I contend that Adam Scott won The Masters in spite of the long putter not because of it. He is one of the greatest golfers and ball strikers we have seen for a long time.
Please share your comments below on this issue which will hopefully help the guardians and other golfers view this from a different and broader perspective.
I use the belly putter to help relieve a bad case of the yips. Having the yips, which often comes upon us as we get older, is no fun and will often lead to giving up the game. The benefit of the long putters to scoring is reflected in our handicaps. With the short putter, I would gain the advantage of a higher handicap, however my enjoyment of the game would be greatly deminished. Enjoyment results in participation. The game needs both.