Belly Putter Victim of Its Own Success

Chuck Burton/AP; Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Golf’s major governing bodies have decided to effectively ban the long putter, a move that puts dozens of professionals in a pickle.

But the message sent by the USGA and the R&A to players such as Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els — all of whom used long putters to win major championships in the past two seasons — was this: Sorry, fellas, you just became too good.

Players have been using the broomstick putter, anchored at the chest, for decades, and in recent years the belly putter, anchored at the paunch, has become the more popular choice of those seeking to take wobbly wrists and forearms out of the putting stroke.

This has always struck many of those who play the game as dodgy at best. Els himself said late in 2011, after...

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