Are long putters for "cheaters"? Or do they "grow the game?" Discuss.
Passion is everywhere in the Editors' Blog. Agreement, a rare occurrence. Yesterday
after Bill Haas used a long putter to win at Riviera, we published three letters all suggesting that if the USGA banned long putters they'd be nuts. Today we got one of those (posted second here) but we also got a rant-like blast in the other direction.
Long putters and belly putters should be banned! If a 60-year-old guy on the senior tour can't walk the course then he can't play and if he has the yips then he can't compete. Move on! And do something else with your life. When a 20-something pro does it's just sad! It's cheating grow a pair and use a normal-length putter. Anybody can steady their stroke with a belly or long putter, so why isn't it an advantage? It's the dumbing down of golf, at least when the NFL dumbs down their game it's to try prevent injury. The PGA and R&A are allowing golf to be dumbed down for marketing and weakness. I root against anyone close to the lead with the cheater putters! I hate the message it sends to the younger golfers, hey if you can't putt we can help you let us show you how to eliminate the need to learn one of the skills of golf. I think Golf World and Golf Channel should lead the way in banning these things. You know the OEMs won't. This is almost as good as painting clubs a bright color and calling it technology.
Perhaps I'm missing some of the intended points, but it appears to me that the "Long Gone?" article, and the article entitled "Appreciating That Golf's Growth is Everyone's Responsibility", suggest the USGA is pointing in two different directions at the same time.
On the one hand the discussion suggests forward tees and 8-inch cups are going to help attract new players and retain others (I assume in an effort to make it more fun), while the "Long Gone" article suggests the money many have recently spent for a long putter (also in an effort to make it more fun), may soon prove to be a total waste! Talk about "recasting the notion of rules bifurcation"......
Roger, I think you've hit the nail on the head. If long putters keep amateurs in the game, er, longer, good on them. But, as Jim points out, if you want to play the competitive game, such kind of help is out of bounds. Bifurcation? I guess, but it has an element of common sense as well, doesn't it?