Belly putters

Bernard Gallacher tells Golfmagic that an announcement on the extended flatstick is imminent...

Andy Roberts's picture
Fri, 23 Mar 2012

Bernard Gallacher has told Golfmagic there will be a ‘big announcement’ on the controversial belly putter at this year’s US Open.

The three-time Ryder Cup captain, speaking exclusively to Golfmagic, revealed the putter that is beloved by golf’s afflicted and loathed by traditionalists is about to come under real threat.

“There are going to be issues with the belly putter,” said the Scot. “I can see in the future that the R&A and USGA will try and ban the belly putter because you’re sort of jamming it in. It’s wedged in.

“When Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major with a long putter at the US PGA last year, I believe the R&A and the USGA, who run world golf, took note.

“They’re going to make a big announcement about it at the US Open.”

Gallacher, who has wielded the broom putter for much of his career, also fears for his own club’s future.

“I think the broom will probably go too because it doesn’t look good, but I don’t think it gives you as much help as the belly. The belly gives you a big help.”

And Gallacher wasn’t exactly scratching his head when asked why he thought the belly had been adopted by numerous pros in recent times, including Bradley, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Bill Haas and even Ernie Els, who was once an outspoken critic of the long putter.

“The long putter is a result of the speed of the greens today because they are not so fast,” added the 22-time professional champion.

“Greens were much slower back in the day and machinery couldn’t get the greens as fast. And so you had to develop a different technique, incorporating a lot of wrist in the stroke as we saw with the likes of Billy Casper, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

“Now there’s no hit anymore as the greens are like double fast. Of couse, the belly, the broom, and the claw grip for that matter, all help to take the hit out of the putt and just starting the ball moving.

“And so between the grip, the belly and the broom, it’s the result of the greens being so fast.”

Earlier this week, two-time PGA Tour champion Bradley, who has also come under fire for his slow-play antics, admitted he would be content with life if the decision goes against him.

“If someone told me I couldn’t use the belly putter anymore, I’d be fine with it,” said the 25-year-old from Vermont.

“If the authorities tell me I can’t putt with a belly putter, obviously I’m not going to. I’ve put years and years of my life practising and playing with the belly, so it would be disappointing.

“But my job is to follow the rules and unfortunately I don’t make them. Whatever the USGA decide or whoever makes the decision, I’ll be fine with it.”

More on the long putter

Woods wades into belly putter debate
Belly putter is not magic, insists Bradley
Els accepts stick for belly putter
I fear long putter is here to stay

More from Gallacher

Gallacher: ‘I hit my Pro-Am partner!’

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Gallacher, speaking exclusively to Golfmagic, is an ambassador of Golf Care – the UK’s largest specialist golf insurer.

 

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