Big Easy having not-so-easy time with belly putter


SAN MARTIN, Calif. – After saying years ago he would like to see them banned, Ernie Els first began experimenting with the belly putter at The Heritage in April. Seven months later at the Open, the South African says he is yet to truly figure out how best to use it.

Els opened with 2-under 69 at CordeValle, including 30 putts. After hitting 14 greens in regulation, the score has to be somewhat disappointing though Els said he is coming around to using the belly putter.

'I'm starting to like it,' Els said 'I've really been working hard on it, obviously. I'm just trying to get comfortable.'

Searching for his first top 10 of the season, Els said his height has hampered his ability to benefit from the anchored stroke.

'I'm tall, so getting into the same position every time has been difficult, and I'm starting to feel it now,' he said.

Admittedly, Els thought the learning process would be over by now, though a change in fortune this week may make the struggle worth it.

'I didn't think it was going to take this long,' he said. 'I really thought I had it after the first couple of weeks, but obviously under tournament play, you know, you kind of move around in position, as I say, and you gotta keep it the same all the time and you gotta be really patient with it. So it's starting to work.'