The playoff between Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley at the PGA Championship also proved to be an unprecedented duel between two unconventional flatsticks.
Indeed, Keegan Bradley’s putter is the first belly putter to notch a major tournament victory, while Dufner’s putter turned the spotlight on the oversized SuperStroke grip.
Bradley’s putter is sure to re-ignite the debate about belly putters and other putters that are anchored to the torso during the stroke.
The belly putter is among the “long putter” craze sweeping the professional circuits and, by extension, recreational golf. Adam Scott lit a fire under the long putter’s popularity this year, using a broomhandle putter to make a run at the Masters and to dominate at the Bridgestone Invitational. Jim Furyk just switched to a long putter for the first time this week.
“Personally, I think it’s an easier way to putt,” Bradley said. “Especially when there’s some nerves.”
And therein lies the rub: there are more than a few folks in the golf industry who feel that anchoring the putter provides an unfair advantage. Writes Conor Nagle at Wei Under Par: “With the exception of Tim Clark, exponents of the broomhandle or belly-anchored flatstick have been drawn to it through incompetence or insecurity. They’ve sought…a measure of respite: asylum from the ruinous effects of pressures that should be integral to the game.”
Moving on, Keegan Bradley’s putter is an Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth, the same putter that Harrison Frazar used to win the St. Jude Classic earlier this summer. And oddly enough, Frazar’s putter is outfitted with the same SuperStroke grip used by Dufner this week. This massive grip was popularized by K.J. Choi, and aims to relax the hands, inhibit wrist breakdown and engage the shoulders for a smoother, more consistent putting stroke.
In other words, putting tradition took a beating yesterday, with two rising young stars airing a virtual television commercial for unorthodox yet effective putters.