Question: If someone told you that a player hit 11 of 18 greens in regulation in the first round of the BMW Championship at Pete Dye’s Crooked Stick (with a par of 72), what would you think would be the best that he could shoot?
A scrambling round of 71? Possibly a 69 or 68 if his putter was particularly hot? Those are reasonable answers, but in the case of Webb Simpson, your guess would be way too high.
Simpson shot a 64 even though he hit only 11 greens. On the seven holes where he missed the green, he was one under par! On the 11 greens that hit, he was seven under.
For the day, Simpson used only 22 putts. He chipped in once, and he two putted five times. His “misses” came from (feet/inches): 13/5, 19/6, 15/7, 24/1, and 50/6. That’s right – the shortest putt he missed was 13 feet and 5 inches.
Now get this: Simpson one putted from: 13/10, 5/5, 5/8, 5/2, 31/5, 11/3, 41/1, and 4/6.
Folks, it should be impossible to putt this well – even for one day. The odds of making all of those putts in one round, of making four putts over 11 feet, and of never missing inside of 13 feet are astronomical. And yet Simpson did it, and it is not the first time that his putter has gotten this hot.
The reason for his performance is what I call the Hot Putter Factor, which results from a combination of talent, perfect greens, and the belly putter! While I have little other than a growing body of anecdotal evidence to prove my case, I have a feeling that, if golf were to conduct a detailed study, it would show that players who putt with a belly can get hotter than those who don’t use one.
If the skills required to play golf were in balance, the need for solid ball striking would always be at a premium, and putting would be the icing on the cake – not the other way around. And so, for the millionth time, I say it is time for golf to ban the belly.