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Jenkins and Capelle stand united against the Long Putters

August 14th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Dan Jenkins and I don’t see eye to eye on many things in golf. For example, he thinks Ben Hogan is the best ever while my choice is Jack Nicklaus (by a mile).

But on one issue we are completely reunited: the long putter. I have ranted numerous times about it of late, spurred on by Adam Scott’s success and the plethora of contenders at the PGA who are wielding those awful broomsticks.

As for Jenkins, at the Masters, he let his true feeling be known: “I loathe and despise the long putter with every fiber in my body.” Any questions?

During Saturday’s third round Jenkins reaffirmed his position as perhaps the world’s leading detractor of the long putter when he said, “The disgusting long putter has never won a major. Which means I have to root against Bradley, Furyk, and Scott.” And don’t forget Brendan Steele.

Throughout my years as a fan, which come close to matching Jenkins’, I have always rooted for my favorites, but have not openly rooted against the others who are in contention – perhaps because that is not in the tradition of the game.

But now, thanks to the long putter, I openly cheer for certain players to miss putts – and to hit it in the trees, traps, and water, of which there is plenty at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

And so, as the leaders play today, I will be rooting against the Long Putters, and it will make me smile if/when these turncoats choke because the great Dan Jenkins will be similarly applauding their assorted disasters.

Won’t you join us?

Tags: The Game · The Majors

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 BD // Aug 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I can’t get too worked up over long putters. First, I’ve yet to see any evidence that long putters are an advantage to elite players. If they were, why wouldn’t all the best putters be using them?

    Second, I don’t see how the long putter is any more revolutionary than, say, the sand wedge, which is designed so as not to hit the ball off the face of the club! I understand that a long putter makes it convenient to anchor the top of the putter and only sweep the clubhead toward the ball, but at least the result of that is the face striking the ball and rolling it to the target. It’s just not sufficiently unlike a conventional putt to get my gander up.

    Third, there’s nothing in the rules to prevent someone from using a conventional putter like a long putter. You are allowed to anchor the grip against your body, whether with a long putter or a normal-length putter. (Of course, it may require an exotic stance.) I’ve done this myself while standing in a greenside bunker with the ball well above my feet, on the apron. And it is certainly legal — and for a long time quite commonplace — to use a wristy putting stroke in which the grip would hardly move.

    Frankly, it seems beyond the proper scope of the rules to specify the technique a golfer is required to use in executing a putt. Yet, that’s essentially what a ban on long putters aims to do. What’s next: no one handed putts? No left-hand-low putts? No left-handed putts by otherwise right-handed golfers?

    I think the campaign against long putters starts from the mistaken premise that a putt should have the same basic elements as any other swing. But putts are obviously unlike full swing shots and chips. The only commonalities the rules should require are that the ball is struck (not pushed or scooped) on the face of the club by a player who is standing parallel to (not astride) the target line. Within those parameters, players should be free to adopt whatever techniques best suit their games. Again, it’s not like long putters are exactly re-writing the record books.

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