Adam Scott has suddenly become the most controversial putter in golf – and perhaps in golf history.
Scott, who won the 2013 Masters with a long putter, intends to use his belly putter once more at the Masters this week – and possibly for the rest of the season. Why does this matter? The belly putter will be banned in 2016.
Is this a big deal? The numbers say yes.
“Well, he was the 190th ranked putter on tour (with a short putter),” 10-time PGA Tour winner Steve Elkington said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “They only have 190. So he was beating nobody with the short putter when he went to the long putter. Then all of a sudden, Adam started competing in majors and doing well. Then he won the Masters with a long putter. He came back on tour this year with a short putter and went to 190th again – in only about four weeks. That’s pretty hard to do. I mean, you two guys could get out here and beat somebody putting in four weeks, and he’s decided to go back to the long putter.”
Scott has said he just wants to perform well and that the long putter helps him do that. He did a use a short putter with modest success earlier in the season, finishing tied for fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. But then he missed the cut at the Valspar Championship and tied for 35th at the Arnold Palmer invitational.
And now he’s back to the long putter, which may or may not affect his legacy – even though he has won a Masters, finished runner-up at the Open Championship (2012), finished third at the PGA (2006) and finished in the top ten at the U.S. Open (2014).
“He’ll (forever) be associated with winning a major with the long putter,” Elkington said. “And if he never putts good again or he never wins big tournaments again, then it’s going to stick out. It’s going to create sort of an asterisk to himself. Not maybe to anyone else, but just like, ‘Hey, I did this with a long putter that’s now illegal. Could I do it without it?’ And I think the asterisk is within him, if you know what I mean.”
Scott may or may not use the long putter at future majors, but Elkington believes the game was right to outlaw long putters.
“Absolutely,” he said. “There’s no way (it should be allowed). That should have been gone way before now.”