Blog Entry

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:22 pm
Edited on: February 17, 2012 4:51 pm

By Steve Elling 

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Add Tiger Woods to the list of players who believe that the belly putter should fast go belly-up.

In fact, the former world No. 1 said Tuesday that he has been agitating for years with one of the game's global rulemakers, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, on the possible language relating to how a rule regarding maximum putter length would be worded.

At the seaside Pebble Beach Golf Links, Woods said he's been preaching anchors aweigh to the broom and belly models for years. The former world No. 1 said he's conversed with the R&A's chief executive, Peter Dawson, about perhaps capping the length so that putters would be the same length as a sand wedge.

The USGA indicated over the weekend at its annual meeting that it, along with the R&A, was revisiting the topic of whether belly putter and long putters, which have become so popular it's hard to track whose using them on tour, should be reigned in.

"I've never been a fan if it," Woods said at Pebble Beach. "I believe it's the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. I believe that's how it should be played. I'm traditionalist when it comes to that."

Purity has been taking a beating on the putting greens of late. The rulemakers years ago capped the maximum length of a driver at 48 inches, but the belly and broom models have been around so long, it's unofficially been sanctioned as a ship that has too long ago sailed.

The belly model became so popular last year, players were schooling their peers on the clubs' nuances on putting greens toward the end of the season. Keegan Bradley, the reigning rookie of the year, became the first player to win a major using the belly model.

Even Phil Mickelson tried one. Many players philosophically object to using putters that are anchored to the body in any fashion, as the broom and belly putter are, in some fashion. Others, like Ernie Els and Mickelson, say that as long as it's not against the rules, they'll try almost anything.

"I've talked to Peter about this, Peter Dawson, for a number of years and gone back and forth of how we could word it," Woods said. "My idea was to have it so that the putter would be equal to or less than the shortest club in your bag. I think with that we'd be able to get away from any type of belly anchoring. 

"You can still anchor the putter like Bernhard Langer did, against the arm. But that's still the art of swinging the club, too, at the same time."

It might be tempting to blow off Woods' remarks, but when he speaks, things tend to happen. By way of example, when Woods said he was in favor of drug testing, the PGA Tour stopped dragging its feet and implemented a new screening system within months. He asked for a shorter season in 2005, and got it when the FedEx Cup series was adopted soon thereafter.

"I think you can get away from the belly or the long putter by that type of wording, whether or not they do it or not," Woods said. "Peter's looked into it for a number of years, trying to get it to work, and you [would] actually measure everybody's sand wedge and putter before you go out and play."

On the Pebble putting green, as his peers learned that Woods had thrown his weight behind a possible rule change, those who use the long sticks cringed.

"Great," said Robert Garrigus, who switched to a belly model this year and nearly won an event last month. "That means it'll probably happen."

When it was pointed out that it can take months or years for rule changes to be implemented, Brendan Steele was left hoping for a different ourcome.

"I've heard that they might grandfather-in all the guys who are already using them," said Steele, who uses a belly model and won last year as a rookie. "I'd be super-stoked if they let me use it and told everybody else that they couldn't."

Category: Golf

Since: Dec 12, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:55 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly


If i had to guess .....then you never played or play a sport ever.

You probably wanted to become a judge, but were not smart enough.....

So you became a mod so you could play god....

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:00 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

Great Post as I believe you sum it up Perfectly. As a former Golf Pro myself, it simply is NOT consistent with any type of hand/swing coordination as the Belly Putter is anchored into your body thus minimizing other movement and thereby mitigating errors in an actual swing . . .

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:12 am

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

"I've never been a fan if it," Woods said at Pebble Beach. "I believe it's the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. I believe that's how it should be played. I'm traditionalist when it comes to that."

I am calling B.S.

The "pendulum" is relatively new in the golf world. Go back and look at how wristy the guys used to be even 30 years ago. Tiger doesn't like it because it doesn't benefit him and it is beyond disengenous to say this has anything to do with being a "traditionalist".

Since: Dec 27, 2010
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:07 am

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

I am in total agreement with Woods on this one.  Using a belly putter gives a crutch to golfers with less putting skill.  It also takes away from the mental toughness to control your entire body while standing over putts for majors.....mind, hands, wrists, fingers included.

No matter what you think of Woods personally, the bottom line is if he wants something done, it usually happens.....because he is still by far the most important person in golf worldwide.  

Since: Feb 11, 2010
Posted on: February 9, 2012 10:02 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

I don't like the belly putter, it kind of eliminates the nervous mistakes of the normal putter(having yipped many a 2 footer).

That being said Tiger has zero credibility and I have little doubt he roided. His immediate muscle gain was consistent with Brady Anderson's "summer of working out". Tiger and Barry Bonds are in the same category IMO. Two guys who were already at the top of the game and thought they needed something extra.

Since: Apr 7, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 12:21 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

Arion, I agree with you.  This is what I posted on the Harrington article. 

I think the reason that Tiger and Harrington are against the long/belly putter is that it is not more forgiving but in the way that the club is used.  It is anchored into you stomach or chest to give it a fixed postion, hence, less movment when swinging the club back and through the ball.  No other club in the bag you are able to do that with.  You are not going to stick the butt of your driver into your chest to try and control the out to in swing path of a slicer.  You would never be able to swing the club, and if you could, you would be hitting 30 yard drives.  The long putter is the only club that you are able to do that and is not consistent with every other club in the bag.  Plus, these guys are pros, they should be able to putt with anything.  If they need a crutch like a long putter to try and fix their horrible putting or their yips, they probably should not be on tour anyway. 

Since: Oct 11, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 2:06 am

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

I would first like to point out that I am a terrible putter.  I have ups and downs but by and large putting is the weakest part of my game by far.

That said, can I make a small observation please?

Supporting a ban on the anchored putter is not the same as wanting to bring back hickory shafts or gutta percha balls or slower greens.  (the stymie is a category all its own I'm not touching that here)

Steel shafts were an equipment improvement, as were solid core balls with urethane covers, as were larger club heads.  All of these unquestionably improved performance.  You could argue whether limits should be placed on all of these, and in fact limits have been placed.   For example, the USGA and R&A have both placed a specific limit on the springlike effect of a driver head.

But the anchored putter is a different matter.  It's on a whole different level.  It fundamentally changes the character of the game on the short grass.

It changes the game from a free swing, which golf has always, always, always been, into a machine-like pivot move.  That is a game changer folks.  Whether you like the anchored putter or not, you cannot deny that it removes a central element of the game.

Since: Jun 29, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:46 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

While were at it lets revert to the old rules about marking your ball on the green and bring the Stymie back. It would greatly speed up play and add an extra measure of drama and strategy to the game. If your a pureist then why not?  Imagine the posssibilities especially in situations where the players are tied on the final hole,wow!

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: February 8, 2012 4:08 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

A traditionalist?  You think Tiger was thinking about tradition when he was dealing with A Rods HGH dealer?  I think not.   I think almost all of Tiger's majors should be asterisked.   

Since: Jan 23, 2012
Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:38 pm

Woods throws weight behind bumping belly

Right after they rule taping your finger is illegal!

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