Did Webb Simpson save the long putter?

The USGA and R&A have been discussing the future of the long-handled putter for several years, and at times they seemed on the verge of announcing a ban. Now that Webb Simpson has won the USGA’s premier event, the U.S. Open, that is less likely to happen.
There are certainly legitimate reasons to consider an outright ban on long putters and belly putters: Anchoring a club to one’s chin, chest or belly is unlike all other swings made with a golf club, and it reduces the moving parts — the twitchiest ones — from the putting stroke. Golf purists Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer never resorted to long putters, even when their putting strokes began to betray them. It was one thing when aging journeymen like Bruce Lietzke gave it a try, or when a Wake Forest junior would use one to make it to the semi-finals of the U.S. Amateur — as Webb Simpson did in 2006 at Hazeltine. But now a long putter has won the Open.
Don’t expect the USGA to come in now and take the broom handle out of Simpson’s bag. It would almost be an official condemnation of his victory, and a declaration that golf’s appointed overseers had been asleep at the switch.

2 thoughts on “Did Webb Simpson save the long putter?

  1. the term “golf purity” stopped meaning anything as soon as club heads became the size of watermelons and have more technology than Apollo 13. Last I saw, Tom and Arnie aren’t playing persimmon woods and featheries.

  2. ban ’em! the engraver can make an “*” as easily as he can spell webb.

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