Golf’s ruling bodies are expected on Wednesday to announce a ban to anchoring the belly putter or long-handled putter to any part of their body.
The St. Andrews based R & A and the New Jersey based USGA will host a joint teleconference to announce the rule change from 2016.
Three of the last five Majors have been won by players using either the belly putter or long-handled putter and it seems the R & A and USGA have had enough.
In August last year, American Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a Major using the belly putter. He was followed by fellow American, and Ryder Cup team mate, Webb Simpson capturing the U.S. Open.
Then in July, and in the R & A’s showcase Open Championship, Ernie Els and hapless Aussie Adam Scott finished one-two with Els using the belly putter to capture a third British Open and Scott finishing runner-up wielding the long-handled putter.
In fact, some 30 % of those competing at Royal Lytham and St. Annes were anchoring putters to their body.
Then only last month 14-year old Chinese sensation Guan Tialang captured the Asia-Pacific title to win a spot in next year’s Masters and British Open using a belly putter.
USGA CEO, Mike Davis who will co-host the tele-conference indicated research indicates putters anchored to the belly, chest or chin give golfers an edge in pressure situations.
And Graeme McDowell fully agrees: “The research has shown that under pressure on a Sunday afternoon the long putter just kind of takes one extraneous movement out of the putting stroke.
“It just makes it physically easier to stroke the putter when the nerves are there and we should be leveling the playing field by banning it.
“It’s also something the ruling bodies are disappointed in themselves that it’s got to this point, and they probably should have nipped it in the bud many, many years ago.”