'Superstitious' Bradley still traveling with belly putter

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Keegan Bradley insists that his days with the belly putter are over. He’s just not willing to break it over his knee.

Bradley used an anchored stroke in each of his three PGA Tour wins, including the 2011 PGA Championship, but he has used a conventional-length putter since the Ryder Cup last fall. This week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open marks his third official start of the wraparound season, and Bradley has yet to second-guess his transition.

“I haven’t touched my belly (putter),” he said. “I still travel with it, but I haven’t used it or even thought about going back to it.”

Webb Simpson is another noted anchorer, but like Bradley he has switched to a short putter with the ban on anchoring looming next year. Simpson explained at the Sony Open that he went as far as to break his belly putter in half to assure he wouldn’t be tempted to return to it.

Bradley called the move “smart,” but said he’s not yet ready to follow in the footsteps of his fellow major champion.

“I don’t know why I travel with it, because I have no plans to use it,” he said. “I just – I don’t know. I feel like it’s a lot of superstition. I can’t explain it.”

Superstition aside, Bradley feels the switch may help him on the greens – even if it’s forcing him to devote more time and attention to his setup mechanics.

“I have so much more touch with my short putter,” Bradley said. “With the belly putter I felt like every putt I hit I had to hammer in the back. I couldn’t finesse any putts in. I feel like I have more of the hole to work with.”