THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – If – or perhaps when – the U.S. Golf Association and R&A deem anchored putting to be against the Rules of Golf, Webb Simpson maintains that he won’t be caught unprepared.
“I've been working with a short putter now for a couple years every time I go home,” said Simpson, who has used a belly putter in competitive rounds since his college days at Wake Forest. “I've heard rumors of this for a long time, so it was one of those things where I'm not worried. I expected the day to come, and so I just wanted to be ready. I didn't want to be shocked. I basically said I'm ready to implement the short putter at any time now.”
Simpson became the second player to win a major championship with an anchored putter when he claimed the U.S. Open this year, and was joined by Ernie Els (Open Championship) one month later.
Even so, he’s insistent that a ban on anchored putting won’t be a death knell to his performance – and he could be using a standard-length putter as early as the first event of 2013.
“I would switch as soon as I felt ready,” he explained. “The way the process has looked like already for me is playing rounds at Quail Hollow with my buddies, and then it's going to be playing pro-ams. I'm just going to take it one step at a time until my comfort level gets better and better. If I feel ready by Hyundai (Tournament of Champions), I'll be putting with a short putter, and if I don't feel ready for two years, I'll wait. I'm just going to go when I feel most comfortable.”
By contrast, fellow anchored-putting major champion Keegan Bradley said that he hasn’t begun working with another flatstick and won’t until it’s absolutely necessary.
“I mean, I've grabbed my buddies' just for fun, but I'm not doing any sort of practice with the short putter,” he said. “The announcement from what I understand will be the next rules change, which is not for another three years. I don't know that for sure, but I'll use my style of putting until then. And you know, when that time does come closer, I'll start to mess around. But as of the time right now I'm still focused on the belly putter.”