No belly putter, no problem.
Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old who next April will become the youngest Masters participant in history, began using an anchored stroke six months before he won the Asian Amateur.
If the anchored stroke is banned in 2016 – and perhaps enacted even sooner – Guan said conforming to the new rules wouldn’t be an issue. After all, he already practices each week with the conventional-length putter.
“I don’t think it will be a big problem for me because I do pretty well with a short putter, too,” he said, according to a press release in advance of this week’s Australian Open. “Also, it only happens in four years, so there is plenty of time still.”
Guan winning the Asian Amateur – and thus earning a Masters invitation – with a putter pressed against his stomach surely was an unwelcome sight for golf’s governing bodies, the leaders of which were in Thailand for the event. When announcing the proposed ban on the anchored stroke, U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said, “We are looking to the future of the game and saying that we don’t think golf should be played this way.”
Although Guan maintains that he is comfortable now with the conventional putter, he is not yet ready to put it in the bag, especially with The Masters looming.
“I practice with the short putter each week,” he said, according to the release. “Not much, just a bit. I’m ready and I have the technique, but I am not going to change right now.”