Updated on 07/16/2012.
Yesterday, Tom Kite did something that no other golfer has ever done. He shot a 28 for 9 holes. He did it in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion, Michigan. Like many, many golfers on the Senior Tour, Tom uses a long putter. Once again, the use of the long putter has come under fire.
One of the most outspoken people against the long putter is NBC’s lead analyst, Johnny Miller. Miller said in a phone interview that “They need to stop the guys from anchoring the top of the putter.” He goes on to say that “a fixed fulcrum is just too much of an advantage.”
This is the same Johnny Miller who in 1987 was the first player to win a PGA tour using a long putter. But Miller said he only braced the shaft of the putter against his arm and did not anchor it to his body.”
Now, just who is he trying to kid. I do believe that the arm is part of the body and if he really believed in what he said, he would not have used the long putter in the first place. A PGA player will do anything to gain an advantage and if Johnny Miller were active on the PGA tour today you can bet he would be using a long putter if it helped his putting.
What I cannot understand for the life of me is who exactly has the advantage when using the long putter? If it is legal for everyone then no one golfer has an advantage over another. If there really is an advantage to using a long putter(I don’t believe statistics prove that there is), it is because certain professional golfers refuse to use them. Therefore, they claim that those that do have the advantage. How insecure!!!
I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the Royal and Ancient and the USGA making up rules on equipment and it’s use based on someone or another having an advantage over someone else. If a piece of equipment is legal then obviously no one that uses that piece of equipment has any advantage over anyone else. Also, if that piece of equipment is legal then there should be no controversy over how it is used. Remember when they outlawed the way Sam Snead was using his putter. Although his putter was perfectly legal, he could not use it like a croqet mallet. Remember the square groove controversy. How ridiculous!
The bottom line here is that none of these equipment issues have anything to do with the integrity of the game. What it does do is showcase the pettiness of some professional golfers and the ruling bodies.
Update: After leading the U.S. Senior Open on the first day by shooting a 65 Tom Kite ended up tied for 12th place when the tournament was over. On the way he missed putt after putt with the same long putter that supposedly and magically put him in the lead on the first day. I don’t suppose this will quiet down the controversy about using the long putter, but I would hope the good and the bad are considered equally.