While the belly putter craze charges into the new year, there are growing rumblings that the USGA might be jockeying to put the breaks on it down the line.
Tiger Woods recently voiced his opposition to the belly putter, adding both weight and fuel to the fire. Now we have Ernie Els stumbling into the debate. Indeed, as reported by Golf Magazine, here’s what Els said in response to a question about the USGA taking another look at the legality of the belly putter:
“Although I’ve used it, I’ve used it for, what, six months now, I feel the same as most of the traditionalists. I feel that no club should be anchored to your body. I don’t know how they’re going to go around it, maybe use a putter as long as you want as long as it’s not anchored to your body any way, even up your arm. You see a lot of the guys use it in their armpits now. Nothing should be anchored to your body, and I believe I still believe that. I was in such a state that I felt that I needed to change something, which I did. I went to the belly. It hasn’t really helped me that much, but it has helped me. But I’m for it. Ban it. It’s fine.”
Let’s review. Years years ago, Els spoke out against the belly putter, saying, “Nerves and the skill of putting are part of the game. Take a [pill] if you can’t handle it…It’s just becoming such an easy way to putt and you are actually pushing the putter into your body and then you can make a kind of perfect stroke with your hands.”
Then, ironically enough, he started using a belly putter recently.
And now he’s saying, essentially: Nothing should be anchored to the golfer’s body, but I will anchor my putter to my body until someone tells me I can’t do it, which I hope happens soon.
There’s flip flopping on an issue, then there’s flat-out belly flopping…