• PGA Tour

Webb Simpson fears belly putter ban

ESPN staff
October 23, 2012
Going long: Webb Simpson may soon have to pull out a new trype of putter © PA Photos

Webb Simpson fears a ban on belly putters and is already planning for the future by practicing with a different blade.

With a growing number of tournaments being won by players using long putters, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association are currently discussing whether to ban clubs that can be anchored to the body.

Keegan Bradley became the first player using a long putter to win a major when taking the PGA Championship last year and Simpson followed that up when bagging the US Open in June. Ernie Els then took the Open at Royal Lytham using a belly putter.

Many have suggested it is against the rules of the game when putters are anchored. Simpson feels the powerbrokers are acting in the best interests of the game, but feels it would be wrong to ban the belly putter.

"I'm friends with a lot of the R&A guys and the USGA guys. It's nothing personal and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game," Simpson said ahead of the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. "But I don't think it's a good decision.

"If the USGA bans it, I think it's going to be a whole other ballgame if the PGA Tour bans it. It's going to be tough if they do ban it."

Putting forward a defence of the belly putter, Simpson said: "Last year there was no one in the top 20 of strokes gained category that anchored a putter. So the argument of, 'It's an advantage', you have to throw that out. There's a bunch of arguments going around but I haven't heard a good one yet."

Simpson switched to a belly putter in 2004, and he added: "I just became a more consistent putter. I don't get hot quite as much, I don't get cold quite as much.

"But I'm not worried about it. I'm ready, and if they do it for next year, I'll be ready."

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