Golf already has the most rules of any sport, causing confusion and anger at one time or another, but which drives me to come back for more pain and punishment, usually in the form trying to reduce those double-bogies, and the dreaded snowman on the scorecard.
So now comes a monumental decision from the sport’s ruling bodies – The Royal & Ancient and the United States Golf Association – that confirm what I always knew about them. They are a bunch of sadistic hypocrites. For the past decade they complain about growing the game and speeding up play with the “While We’re Young” campaign, and then the cut-throat SOBs turn around and, effective January 1, 2016, ban the use of anchoring the putter. How does this ridiculous new rule grow the game?
This is a topic that is near and dear to me since I’ve been using the long putter for over 20 years and the primary reason being a word that begins with the letter “y” as in yips. The last time I remember using a 34-inch putter was in 1994 while on a golf buddy trip to Myrtle Beach. I was standing on the 18th green at Man-O-War golf course, and after missing yet another two-foot putt and losing yet another $20 wager, I took four mighty steps and heaved the club a healthy 20-yards into the lake, never using a regulation length putter again.
The two favorite books in my golf library are Dave Pelz’s “Putt Like the Pros,” (1990) and “Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible” (2000). Who can argue with comments like “three-putts are a waste of time, score and enjoyment.” Every golfer knows a two-foot putt counts the same as a 300-yard drive – one stroke. According to Peltz, putting accounts for nearly half of all swings made – 43 percent – and causes as much as 80 percent of mental anguish and frustration. Tell me about it! How about this for simple, solid advice? “Just start the ball on the right line and give it the right speed. You can understand that, can’t you?”
Apparently Pelz’s advice is too complicated for me to understand because my putting sucks whether I use a long putter or a belly putter. All I know is that this new rule is the beginning of the end for many poor putters like me. I may as well make a $5 Nassau and then just ask for a buyout after 9 holes. I’ve had way too many rounds where my putting strokes exceed half my total score, and you bet that bugs the hell out of me.
Two amazing putting stories from the PGA Tour this year is that Jordan Spieth proved he is one-shot wonder, whose whole game revolves around his putter. When Spieth loses his touch on the green he is history. He missed the cut in the first two FedEx Cup events because of poor putting. Have you ever seen a pro make so many long-range putts? The closer he gets to the hole the better he scores. The other putting story of the year involves Robert Streb, shooting 65 in the final round of the Greenbriar Classic on July 5. Streb broke his putter on the 9th green and used his 56-degree sand wedge to make three birdies on the back side including a 30-foot bomb on the 13th green. He lost the tournament in a three-way playoff to Danny Lee. Almost unbelievable.
Tens and thousands of golfers, including me and that ubiquitous, antagonistic Golf Whisperer Tim Geary, hope that before January 1 the powers-that-be will act to remove the rule that bans amateurs from anchoring their putter while competing. I do not want to follow another divisive, hairsplitting rule drafted by a bunch of fussbudget country club WASPs who serve on a committee trying to decide if an acorn is a loose impediment or outside agency. AMEN!
Tom Gorman, has many excuses for being a poor putter and wonders whether someday if golf’s ruling bodies will ban players from wearing blushing pink and lime green as complementary outfits.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?