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Langer against belly-putter ban

Last updated: 30th November 2012


Bernhard Langer: No ban needed

Bernhard Langer: No ban needed

Two-time former Masters champion Bernhard Langer has made a fervent defense of long putters, claiming that they are the "progression of the game".

Golf's rule-makers - Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA) - have announced a proposal on Wednesday for a ban on long putters that are anchored to the body.

Langer reverted to the longer putter after struggling with the "yips" and is against the decision to ban putters that are anchored on the chin, stomach or chest by 2016.

"I am disappointed and I do not understand why they are banning it now after 35 years," Langer commented from Sun City, where he is taking part in the Champions Challenge, the seniors' portion of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

"If there is anything illegal about it, why did they not stop it right away? If you are talking about the history of the game and that long putters are not part of the history of the game, what about big metal drivers, two-piece balls or hybrids? Let's face it, it is a progression of the game."

Bill Haas, the American who shared the lead at the Gary Player Country Club, is happy with the ban.

"I had a lot of success with a belly putter last year, but then I became worse with it for a while," Haas said.

"I don't think it makes putting much easier, but it may be the wrong way to play the game. You should be putting with your hands and the putter should not be anchored.

"There's a way to putt, but if people want to use a long putter, they should use them. I'm happy with my short putter now. It makes it more fun."

Langer did point out that, while three of the last five major winners used a belly-putter, the rulemakers have done nothing about the influence of technology in other areas of the game.

"They have never banned drivers. That is what they should be doing," he said.

"Are these big metal drivers part of the history of the game, balls going for hundreds of yards?"

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