Long putters likely to be banned, says Harrington, who hopes change is soon

Padraig Harrington
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If someone invented the belly putter tomorrow, it wouldn't be deemed legal, opines Padraig Harrington.
PA Sport

Series: Industry News

Published: Monday, July 23, 2012 | 11:25 a.m.

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Padraig Harrington thinks long putters are on the way out -- even though their most famous practitioner, Adam Scott, did not follow Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson in winning a major with one on Sunday night

"I suspect that they (the R&A) are going to ban them," Harrington said after tying for 39th at the British Open behind winner Ernie Els, who did use a long putter.

"That's more or less the consensus -- they're going to have a two-year grace a bit like the grooves," he added. "I just hope that they don't wait too long -- I hope they don't wait until I'm 50 years of age to change the rule."

Both the R&A and the U.S. Golf Association recently changed the rules on grooves to make it more difficult to control the ball out of the rough.

"Guys wouldn't be using them if they didn't putt better with them," said Harrington of the long putters. "If the standard of putting goes up, it puts more pressure on the guys that aren't using one just to compete.

"So all of a sudden it's hard for a normal putter," he added. "Is he doing the right thing, should he be using the long putter?

So, Harington concluded, the long putter actually has a negative effect on some golfers as much as a positive effect on others.

"The fact is, if somebody invented the belly putter tomorrow, it would not pass" the approval of the governing bodies," said Harrington. "I think we could all agree with that.

"The only reason it got through is the people that used it 20 years ago were coming to the end of their careers," he said. "People were sympathetic and didn't want to finish Bernhard Langer's career by telling him you can't hold it like this, you can't attach it to your arm."