Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Long, short of winning a major

Sergio Garcia could have done more than just win the British Open Sunday had his eight-foot putt on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie tumbled into the cup.

He would have become the first player to win a major championship using a belly putter or a long putter.

Instead, those forced to desperate measures with a putter are still winless in golf’s most important events.

Vijay Singh, who goes back and forth with his putters, had gone back to a conventional-length putter when he won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits three years ago.

Putting, as anyone who has ever tried it knows, is a hateful thing. It has ruined more men than wine and women.

That’s why players try all the things they do in an effort to roll the ball into that little hole. If a snow shovel worked, golfers would use it.

But there’s something about the long putter, or the shorter belly putter that you anchor to that spare tire around your waist, that runs contrary to the spirit of golf’s rules.

There may come a day when I’m forced to use the long putter, at which point my opinion will change 180 degrees but, for the time being, I’m glad no one has won a major using a long or belly putter.