Harrington switches to belly putter

By Jason SobelMay 2, 2013, 6:45 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Padraig Harrington shot an opening-round 80 at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday, so you can excuse him for looking quizzically at a few reporters who were waiting to speak  with him afterward.

Then he figured it out. It wasn’t about the score. It was about the club.

At a time when many players are moving away from anchored putting because of the proposed ban by the USGA and R&A, Harrington placed a belly putter in his bag for the first time in competition.

“I took it out last week,” he explained. “Mechanically, everything I do with my putting stroke is better with the belly putter than without it.”

Makes sense, sure. But here’s the rub: Harrington is fundamentally against anchored putting being legal.

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“I don't support the belly putter,” he said. “I think it's bad for the game of golf.”

Wait … what?

That’s like a vegetarian munching on a cheeseburger. Or a nudist wearing a few extra layers of clothes.

It recalls a comment from Ernie Els two years ago: “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

So there was Harrington, jabbing the butt end of that putter into his midsection and whacking away 32 times during the round, each putt tinged with a hint of irony.

“The R&A support the rules of golf, and it's well within the rules,” maintained Harrington, who serves as an ambassador to the R&A. “If I hit it into the middle of the trees and I'm stuck behind it and I'm in trouble and I get free relief off the cart path, I'm going to take it. There is no doubt.”

Ironically enough, Harrington’s comments mirror those of other players this week when speaking about the hot-button issue of drug testing. Now that Vijay Singh has been acquitted of any wrongdoing after taking deer-antler spray, many have claimed they’ll look into using the substance, which can now be seen as a legalized form of gaining a competitive advantage.

Of course, his score – which left him in dead last place after the morning wave was complete – could live as Exhibit A as to how anchored putting doesn’t provide any advantage at all.

“I had picked up the belly putter in the past and have always hated it, but when I put it on the analysis, everything came out better,” he explained. “So that encouraged me to get over the ‘I don't like the feel of this’ because I accelerate better, and I do so many things better with it.

“Before it was a feel thing. Now I'm saying, well, I can get through the feel thing. If it's going to be a better putting stroke, why not?”

Harrington compares it to the rule that outlawed square grooves three years ago.

“It's the exact same situation as the grooves,” he said. “It's not for the good of some individuals, but for the good of the game, absolutely. For the majority, I believe, yeah, anchoring shouldn't be there. It doesn't look good.

“As much as the grooves cost me dearly, not having the box grooves, I know nobody wants to talk about that now. Six months after they were gone, nobody talked about it. It will be the same with the putter. Once it's banned, six months later everybody will move on.”

That may be true, but the proposed ban wouldn’t take place until Jan. 1, 2016. Harrington will be 44 at that point. He figures if he can get the most out of that time during his prime years, he’s going to take that opportunity – whether he agrees with it or not.

“You know, 3 1/2 years is a long time of golf,” said the three-time major champion. “[That’s] 15 majors. I could have Jack [Nicklaus’] record by the end.”

His math may have been off – there are only 11 majors between now and the first day of 2016 – but Harrington’s point was taken. He’d rather “cheat” with an anchored putter than cheat himself out of more major titles.

When a reporter laughed out loud at the prospect of him sweeping every major between now then, Harrington responded in mock disdain.

“You don't have to laugh so deep from your belly,” he said.

If the new putter eventually works wonders for Harrington, he’ll be the one enjoying all the belly laughs in the end.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.