Nick Green
By Nick Green

Another year goes by and more majors are won by a player using the long or belly putter. Aftter Keegan last year we have Webb this year, both 'young guns' using the ugly weapon.

Now the long wands have reached The Open with Adam Scott and even Ernie Els "cheating like the rest of them as long as it is legal".

There’s no question in my mind it’s not pure, but it is also not against the rules. It takes some digging in the lengthy Rules of Golf to find even where the long putter could be covered. It seems that Rule 14-3 covers it and here’s what that says:

14-3. Artificial Devices, Unusual Equipment And Unusual Use Of Equipment

The USGA reserves the right, at any time, to change the Rules relating to artificial devices, unusual equipment and the unusual use of equipment, and to make or change the interpretations relating to these Rules.

Except as provided in the Rules, during a stipulated round the player must not use any artificial device or unusual equipment, or use any equipment in an unusual manner:

a. That might assist him in making a stroke or in his play; or

b. For the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play; or

c. That might assist him in gripping the club

The word 'anchoring' is nowhere to be found in the official rule book, which for those of you who have not read it, is just slightly more complicated than nuclear physics!

It’s only a matter of time before that changes and following the recent major victories both Messrs Dawson (R&A) and Davis (USGA) have stated they are investigating the situation. My interpretation of the rule is that the equipment is used in an “unusual manner” and this “assists in gripping the club”.

The R&A and the USGA review the rules every few years and this review would mean that no change is likely to be enforced until 2016 and possibly not at all in recreational play .

Pure, unquestionably no, but legal until the governing rules bodies rule otherwise.

Meanwhile, I’ll stick to my Bullseye la Femme, which at 33 inches is just perfect!


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