Carl Pettersson has used a long putter since 1998. It follows that he lobbied against the upcoming ban on anchored putting strokes. And that he is one of nine players who retained a lawyer. And that he ultimately tired of the whole controversy.
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But now, instead of fighting, he is switching.
That’s right: Pettersson used the short, conventional putter on a trial basis Sunday in the final round of the John Deere Classic. He liked the results enough that he is using it again this week at the British Open at Muirfield.
So it’s time to cue the old saw: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
Using a split claw grip on a putter measuring about 37 inches long and featuring a Ping Anser-style head, Pettersson took 28 putts in a final-round 1-under-par 70 at the Deere. That experience, he said, “went better than expected.” It was the first time he used a conventional putter in competition in more than 15 years, since he was at Central Alabama Community College.
“It felt really good,” Pettersson said. “I holed all the ones you’re supposed to hole, the ones in the 3- to 6-foot range.”
Pettersson, 35, said he rehearsed one day with the short putter — June 18 in a Tuesday practice round at the Travelers Championship — before using it in tournament play Sunday. He said he “might as well try” the short stick because he hadn’t been putting as well as desired with his beloved broomstick.
The five-time PGA Tour winner figures the slump with the long putter was at least partly because of the “commotion” surrounding the anchor ban, which will go into effect in 2016. He ranked 21st in PGA Tour putting last year but is 75th this season.
“Sunday was big,” Pettersson said of his performance. “If I had gone pear-shaped with the short putter, I’d really be confused right now.”
In a split claw, the left hand goes on the club conventionally and the right hand uses a claw grip a few inches below.
“The claw feels natural because I’ve done it so long with my long putter,” he said.
Pettersson said he has no intention to sue over the anchor ban because he doesn’t want the distraction of a lawsuit. Besides, he has a new, smaller toy that, at least for the moment, seems to agree with him.