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Webb Simpson takes a stand in long-putter debate

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 4:02 pm

Self interest cannot be discounted. The fact that Webb Simpson does not want long putters banned should come as no surprise given the extra-long wand he anchors to his belly. But the reigning U.S. Open champ makes some good arguments regardless of how it affects him personally.

“Do I think they should be banned?” Simpson asked rhetorically. “No, and here’s why: You take a wooden driver compared to a 460-cc titanium (driver) and that’s a lot bigger difference than a 35-inch putter versus a 45-inch putter. Also, last year the strokes gained putting, nobody in the top 20 used a belly putter or a long putter. If anybody says it’s an advantage, I think you’ve got to look at the stats and the facts.”

He also thinks the current hoopla is an overreaction to recent successes. Prior to Keegan Bradley at last year’s PGA Championship, no one had won a major using a long or belly putter despite the fact that they have been in play for decades.

“To me, to change something that big and to cost manufacturers millions of dollars, you’ve got to have some pretty good facts. I think just because some of us are winning majors or winning tournaments with the belly putter, I don’t think that’s a good reason to say, hey, we’re going to take them away.”

But Simpson is also a realist.  He is going to be ready no matter what happens.

“I’ve been putting with a short putter a lot at home, just practicing,” he said. “My theory is that I’m going to be ready for it. I ordered two Scotty Cameron's a month ago and I’ve been working with them. I don’t want to be surprised by it. I’m kind of telling myself to expect it and we’ll see what happens."