Monday, August 22, 2011
Should the Long-Putter Success Worry Golfers?
As you've probably heard, Webb Simpson won on Sunday at the Wyndham, meaning for the third straight week, a long or belly putter has taken home a PGA Tour crown. That's just one week after a long-putter won for the first time in a major championship, and some golf historians aren't so happy about it.
But why is it happening in such a rush right now? Simple, because players have more access to just about everything in golf. Look at Matt Kuchar. A top-10 machine the last couple of years, Kuchar switched mid-season to a putter that you rest in your left armpit, mainly because a coach told him it would help keep the ball on the path better. Do I have access to such technology? No, not really, but that doesn't mean I couldn't go down to my local golf shop and test out 20 long and belly putters from all different brands. It's access, and the players are using it to their benefit.
Now, is it a problem? I really don't think so. You want every edge you can get in golf, and while I can understand people complaining about the extra anchor that a belly or long putter gives you, you still have to be mentally sound enough to think you can make putts consistently. That's the big difference in a guy like Webb and your weekend hacker; Simpson really believes that he'll make every putt, and the long putter gives him that slight confidence boost that he probably needed.
Would I ever go to a long putter? No, probably not, mainly because I think they're goofy and my game isn't that serious anymore. If I was on the PGA Tour, and someone told me I could make one more putt a round if I switched? Absolutely, anything for that mini-boost.
The thing is, long putters aren't going anywhere, so we might as well embrace them like we did with the Big Bertha, the Pro-V and range finders. They're just part of the game now, whether you like them or not.