This is it, Folks. Evacuate to the bomb shelters. Brad Faxon is going to tinker with a belly putter. For those of you not aware, Brad Faxon is a legend in putting circles. In fact, his short game unquestionably kept him on tour while he occasionally hit the ball like a vanity handicap at your local PubLinks Qualifier. For years, a long putter has been the Tour equivalent of iron covers. If you saw one, you knew the guy couldn’t putt. But, now, things have changed. The young guys are using them (Keegan Bradley), the cool guys are using them (Adam Scott), and even the neurotic left-handers (Phil Mickelson) are having a go. But, never a pure putter. Not Faxon. Not Furyk. Yep.
Of course, this should have about all the drama of baseball players switching to maple bats. It’s certainly a fad, and the long putter has some advantages, but to think the guys wielding short putters are out there with the equivalent of a persimmon wood is probably going overboard. And, even if long putters are proven in the long run to be better technology and everyone in the world starts using one, what’s the big deal?
Well, this is where we get into golf’s archaic labyrinth of a rules system and the notion of the game’s purity. Now, I don’t expect the rules of golf, written whenever they were to be able to predict future trends in golf, but the inability of the governing bodies to adapt is pretty shocking. Instead of making a decision on the long/belly putter they try to make it mesh with a rule already in existence. Does it anchor to the body? Blah, blah, blah and everyone falls asleep.
Of course, not only has the horse been out of the barn on this one, but the barn has been converted into a loft apartment. Players have been using these things for years, but I think partially because of the stigma attached to them, the governing bodies thought they’d never catch on to this extent. Why would they ruffle the feathers of a few players who were using this embarrassing crutch to keep their game going? Let it run its course and everyone will be back in Scotty Cameron Newport heaven before we know it. Whoops, now you can’t watch two groups go through a hole without seeing one and we’re contemplating making a serious retroactive decision? Or at least the loudmouth purists are barking for one? It makes no sense.
I hate to break the news to everyone, but golf has lost its purity. You’re going to play a hot ball, with a hot-faced driver, on a perfectly manicured course, but you’re drawing the line at the belly putter? Come on. And, really who cares if someone gets an advantage? Banning the belly putter because a couple of guys make putts with it would have been like banning the sand wedge 50 years ago because Gary Player could hit a bunker shot that would make you cry. You don’t hear long hitters complaining about how featherweight drivers with huge hot faces and post-balata technology has turned the teeny Rickie Fowler into a bomber. Things change.
Of course, the real problem might just be with putting in general. Who thought of this? Why is the hole so damn small? What other sport has two such distinct motions? I mean, when Roy Halladay gets two strikes on a guy he doesn’t have to switch to lefty and throw sidearm to get the punch out. Putting is great for TV drama and people who like to punish themselves, otherwise, give me the bucket cup.
For everyone who just died reading another golf post, and a terribly specific and boring one at that, how about a combination of Texts From Last Night and Parks and Recreation? Amusing website, top-2 comedy on network TV? Eh, eh? Someone took texts from the website and matched them with screen shots from Parks and Rec. Pretty funny. Obviously profane.