Woods offers solution against long putters

Tiger Woods has a solution to long putters – make them no longer

than the shortest club in the bag.

Woods said Tuesday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am he has

”never been a fan” of long putters that players either anchor

into their belly or the broom-style putters that are pressed

against the chest.

”I believe it’s the art of controlling the body and club and

swinging the pendulum motion,” Woods said. ”I believe that’s how

it should be played. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to


Woods said he has spoken to Royal & Ancient chief executive

Peter Dawson the last several years about how the language could be

written in the Rules of Golf that effectively would ban such


”My idea was to have it so that the putter would be equal to or

less than the shortest club in your bag,” Woods said. ”And I

think with that, we’d be able to get away from any type of belly


He said the putter still could be anchored to the forearm, as

two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer once did.

Keegan Bradley became the first major champion to use a belly

putter when he won the PGA Championship. Bill Haas used the same

style when he won the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx


The belly putters gained momentum late last year with Bradley

and Webb Simpson, who won twice late in the year and who nearly

captured the PGA Tour money title. Both considered themselves good

putters who felt as though anchoring the club to their stomach made

them even better.

For years, most players believed only players who were desperate

to improve used such putters.

Ernie Els once criticized the use of belly putters, but switched

to one late last year and said: ”As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep

cheating like the rest of them.”

Phil Mickelson also experimented with a belly putter during the

FedEx Cup playoffs last year. He since has gone back to a more

conventional putter.

The R&A and USGA, while making no formal announcement, have

said they would review such putters. While it would seem simple to

ban long putters, it can help recreational players stay interested

in the game, and any ban might also affect the equipment


”If you look back at the interest in it, it really never

changed for over 20 years,” USGA executive director Mike Davis

said Saturday at its annual meeting. ”Then all of a sudden in 2011

… this has become a much bigger topic. So the R&A and USGA

have been talking about this at length, and we’re looking at it

from the perspective as … what is good for the game for all

golfers long term.”

Davis said it would be premature to speculate on a direction the

governing bodies are going, except to say they are not ignoring the


”It is something that we have taken a fresh look at, because

there are more players in the game, both on the elite level and on

the recreational level, using it,” Davis said. ”I think we just

want to be sure that we’re looking at all the angles and thinking

about what is in the best interest, both the traditions of the

game, the history of the game and what is what we think would be

good for the game long term.”