Blog Entry

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

Posted on: February 8, 2012 2:56 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:50 pm

By Steve Elling 

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- A day after Tiger Woods all but said that the belly putter should be ruled illegal, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington made a bold prediction.

"Yes, it's inevitable it's going to get changed," he said Wednesday.

Harrington is an ambassador for the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, and whether he's speaking with any insider information here is a bit unclear, but the sentiment seems to be growing that the long putters need to be re-examined.

With a growing number of players using the belly model, and players like Adam Scott resurrecting his career with the broom model, traditionalists like Woods have raised the question of whether the clubs should be banned.

Harrington, playing this week at Pebble Beach, said that if the clubs had recently appeared out of thin air, it's highly unlikely they would have ever been permitted.

"I think at the end of the day, if we started fresh tomorrow and somebody tried to get the belly putter passed, not a chance," he said.

The game's two governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, have indicated they will take a look at the long-putter issue, though banning a device that's been around for a quarter-century sounds like a sticky situation.

Woods advocated a theoretical plan wherein the putter could not be longer than the shortest club in the bag, which would usually be a sand wedge. He envisioned putters being measured for length by comparing them to wedges on the first tee to ensure accordance, and said he had discussed the possible wording of a rule change with Peter Dawson of the R&A on several occasions.

"I definitely hear  and this is not true by connection with the R&A but just true in golf -- there's more players, there's more officials focusing on the belly putter," Harrington said.

Last year, for the first time, a major championship was won by a player using the belly putter.

Woods said Tuesday: "I've never been a fan of it. I believe it's the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. I believe that's how it should be played. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to that."

With 17 majors between Woods and Harrington, not to mention their influence in other areas, that's some pretty heavy artillery on the anti-belly side of the fence.


Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 12:30 am

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

It has been around for ever and allowed to have been used because no one has used it. Now that people realized it gives you a big advantage over the short putter people are using it. It should be illegal, its that same as a club that gives you a perfect swing plane every time. If everyone used the club than the players who have had success would lose their adv and go back to being medicore again.

Since: May 10, 2011
Posted on: February 11, 2012 7:23 pm

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

The belly putter and even longer ones that players held to their sternum have been allowed for some 25 years according to this article. Over that course of time only one player has used a belly putter to win a major tournament. That is not an alarming result that says hey this thing creates an unfair advantage.  There is always going to be conflict between traditionalists and innovation.  The only question I would like to ask Tiger, Padraig and the R&A is does this mean wwe should go back to Hickory shafts on all the clubs as well? 

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 6:17 pm

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

The belly putter came along as a way to help players deal with the "yips", now others are taking advantage of it. Time for it to go and let the yips players deal with their problem or just retire if they can't.

Since: Sep 9, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 11:18 am

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

Yes Yes Stumpy. You said Sawgrass was a links course.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: February 11, 2012 9:14 am

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

Like I said, you are so freaking pathetic that you can't keep track of all the different people that you are in a perpetual argument with on these boards.  I have never ever claimed or stated that Sawgrass was a links course -  It is within close proximity to the ocean, but it is not a links style course.  I have never one time in my life ever claimed here, or anywhere else that Sawgrass is a Links Course.  

I see that you have not taken action and gone to get the professional mental therapy that you so desperately need.  You are a narcsisstic weirdo freak.  You are a complete and total chop that can't even break 90.  Why do you even have any interest in the game?  You can't play it.  You are a hacker loser that actually enjoys doing so,ething that you SUCK at?   Like I said.  Get help.  Before it's too late.  Please .   Dolly is depending on you for lovin'.   You can't let your furry lover down.  Get the professional mental help you need.  

Since: Sep 9, 2008
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:09 pm

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

Va Hawk...for someone who thinks Sawgrass is a links course your opinion means nada.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:41 pm

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

I have always said that anchoring the club against the body is bullshi*.  The length is not the issue.  It is holding the handle against your belly, chest, or chin, or WHATEVER is not "swinging"  the club.  You should have to control the handle with your hands and nerves.  When you anchor the handle or butt of the club on your body, you are rmoving a lever, and simplifiying the stroke.  I would even contend that the stroke that Bernhard Langer used when he ran the grip up his forearm effectivley anchoring it against his arm should have been deemed illegal.  I am surprised that the powers that be allowed this to go on this long.  The very fact that is has been in play so long IS a valid argument for not banning the "belly putter".  

It's one thing if you are sticking the thing in your gut and making a stroke, but the body stroke that Adam Scott is doing is the epitome of what is wrong with the LONG putter.  He is COMPLETELY taking the hands out of the shot.  They should have never allowed this practice in the first place.  It's better to protect the game NOW than let this cheesy method evolve into the norm.  

All that being said, thay have allowed it for many years.  There are a number of players that have been using this method legally for years.  Is it fair to these players to ban it NOW?  Square grooves were allowed for some time and then banned, but that's different.  This ruling could be devastating for a number of players.  Could players like Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Nick O'Hern etc etc etc  possibly putt as well with out anchoring the club against the body.  I think you'd see all of them struggle.  It wasn't like it was a silver bulllet for Phil Mickleson.  You still have to read, line up, and hit the putt the right speed with the long putter.  But it is the execution of the putting stroke with the hands that is one of the biggest challenges of the game.  It IS the game.  Anchoring the club against the body is not a "stroke".  

 I think this is an extremely tough call.  Honestly, there are good and valid arguments for and against banning it.  I have always been for banning it, but I might be "evolving" on this issue.  How can you go to Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, and Keegan and take their bread and butter out of their hands?  The long putter is their cash cow.  It might not be fair at this point to yank the carpet out form under these guys.  I heard that Keegan Bradley had the electric shock, mega yips with a regular putter.  He wouldn't have a chance to compete with out the broomstick.  This is a very tough call.  

Since: Apr 23, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:20 am

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

First of all, if it is a huge advantage then you would see a lot more of them on the tour. Tiger included. It's no different than the two ball (or three) ball putters. Maybe the rules should be all blade putters - I see little here to argue. The belly is available to all to use just like jumbo drivers and high velocity balls.

If the belly is outlawed they should reduce the golf ball, take everyone back to wood "woods" and then listen to all of the "traditional" golfer come unglued.
Worry about someone significant.

Since: Dec 5, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 9:21 am

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

tiger shoots -4 and that is all you hear and see. oh by the way three players shoot -9 including dustin johnson. the media whores are sucking on him again.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:32 pm

Harrington calls belly rule change 'inevitable'

LannyH, the equipment manufacturers don't get a vote at either the R&A or the USGA. They'll do what they think is best, in their own time. As for what the PGA Tour will do, who can say? At the least, they'll conform to the USGA's rules at the U.S. Open and the R&A's at the Open Championship. Personally, I would love to see the Tours put on the spot. One of the most-corporatized sports in the world, jerked to attention by a bunch of amateurs who cannot be bribed. Beautiful.

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