Golf season, for me, doesn’t really get going until the Masters Tournament is held in early April in Augusta, GA. But there’s a scrap brewing between the United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient (which governs the sport outside the U.S.) and some tournament professionals over the use of so-called belly putters.
Golfers are notorious for their superstitious habits of changing clubs, balls, swings and other aspects of their game in an effort to improve their score. Initially dismissed as a novelty when it was introduced in the early 1980s, though, the belly putter, which enables golfers to anchor the club against their mid-section when putting and thus streamline their stroke, is proving to be more than just a gimmick.
In the last two years, several golfers using belly putters, including Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els (pictured) and Webb Simpson, have claimed major championships. Prominent golfers like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Arnold Palmer have said the putter should be banned as it provides players who use it with an unfair advantage by permitting them to control the yips and mask other deficiencies in their stroke. Other golfers like Els, Bradley and Simpson are defending the putter and want it to remain legal
You can read more on the burning issue in this ESPN report.