Adam Scott sank two epic putts on the 18th hole and the final hole of the playoff to edge Angel Cabrera for the 2013 Masters title.
Adam Scott’s putter is a Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura X prototype in a broomstick configuration. This putter features extreme perimeter weighting for enhanced MOI and forgiveness.
Lost in all of the action and excitement is the fact that this was the first time that a broomstick putter was used to win a major tournament, and the first time that an anchored putter has won a major since the announced upcoming ban of anchored putters starting in 2016.
The premise of the proposed ban is that an anchored stroke is not a true golf stroke, and that it presumably provides the golfer with an unfair advantage. This advantage is said to be amplified in pressure-packed situations, with the anchoring providing a steadying effect against nerves and jitters. Can you think of a more pressure-packed situation than having to sink a putt to win the Masters? So the critics of anchored putting certainly have more to howl about this morning.
On the other hand, if it was such an advantage, why doesn’t everyone do it? The putter didn’t sink those putts, Adam Scott did. Without the black cloud of the impending ban, this would simply be a healthy debate. You’d have your critics and your proponents, and it could all be settled (or not) over a beer at the 19th hole. It’s the specter of illegality that is darkening the clouds overhead.
Simply put, golf’s ruling bodies have created a mess. If they were going to act on anchored putting, it should have been done long ago, not after a sudden streak of players winning major tournaments with belly putters starting in 2011. Then, when they did act (in late 2012, after Ernie Els won the British Open with a belly putter; Els once famously said that an anchored stroke was “cheating,” but that didn’t keep him from cashing the check), they introduced a grace period of another three years before the ban is supposed to take effect on tour, opening the door for many more tournaments to be won with a method that is scheduled to be declared illegal. Since when are illegalities scheduled?
Imagine the kids of today watching highlights of the 2013 Masters in 10 or 15 years. They’ll go, hey, what’s that contraption in that guy’s hands? “Well, that’s a broomstick putter, young man, they’re no longer legal, because they said it provided an unfair advantage.” What, the putter he used was illegal? “No, it was technically legal then, but there was a ban in place that hadn’t yet taken effect.” What?
It’s an unfortunate and unnecessary footnote to what will be remembered as a thrilling Masters tournament, and as Adam Scott’s shining moment.
P.S. Scott’s victory yesterday secured a Grand Slam for anchored putters, as all four major tournaments have now had at least one victor who used an anchored belly or broomstick putter, starting with Keegan Bradley less than two years ago at the PGA Championship.