Frank, I found out today that Adam Scott (a countryman) is going back to his long putter for the Masters. Are you surprised?
I am not surprised, because the long putter is a very efficient implement which does take some time to get used to and acquire good feel. It is a better implement than the belly putter, and reduces the sources of error within the stroke. (for a full explanation, see my article “Forget About the Belly Putter” in the July 2013 issue of Golf Digest).
Adam Scott has confidence – a very important ingredient in putting – in the long putter and he will do well using it BUT I believe that he can putt well with a regular length putter when the time comes if he works on the fundamentals of his putting stroke, and can develop the same or more confidence using the short putter as he has using the long putter.
At our Putting Academy & Research Center we have helped many golfers make a successful transition from long or belly putters to short/conventional length putters. To adapt to the shorter putter requires proper practice and an understanding of the natural motion that putting actually is. All of us have a tendancy to overcomplicate and try to force our stroke, particularly if things start to go wrong. We need to give up instructional control and trust our bodies to move and react naturally.
It will take some time but I believe that with the appropriate instruction and information, Adam Scott can bring his putting skills up to par with the short putter and in line with the rest of his immaculate game and he will have the confidence to win many more majors, even with a shorter putter in hand.
Bill, I hope this gives you some insight. I know that your fellow countryman will be able to adapt to the rules change with regards to anchoring with proper instruction.