A golfer in his 40s and another in his teens qualified for the Masters 105 days apart, their generation gap bridged by a broomstick shaft. The belly putters used by 43-year-old Ernie Els in his victory at the British Open in July and by 14-year-old Guan Tianlang in his win at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship this month are the pokers stirring the game’s hottest controversy, one that has smoldered for decades.
An announcement from the R&A and the U.S.G.A. on the fate of long putters is thought to be imminent. The battle lines are drawn, with purists on one side and pragmatists on the other.