A day after Keegan Bradley said that he would challenge a potential anchoring ban, Adam Scott on Thursday was less pointed in his comments but maintained that “no one has given me a good reason yet” to outlaw the long putter.
After shooting a 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, Scott told reporters, “I’d still be surprised if they could completely outlaw anchoring putting, but you’d have to deal with that if it were to be brought in.
“For me personally, I don’t feel it’s as big a deal maybe as for some others. I’ve played at a high level with both styles of putting. If you look at the stats this year, it doesn’t say I’m putting that much better, but I enjoy playing golf with the long one. You have to read the green and you have to hit it at the right speed. All of putting is still a learning skill, no matter what way you do it.”
Essentially, Scott employed the same argument used by fellow anchorer Webb Simpson. The 2012 U.S. Open champion said last week that, if you look at the stats, there is no discernible advantage for players using a long putter. Last year, no player who anchored the putter was ranked inside the top 20 of the PGA Tour’s strokes gained-putting category, though three of the past five major winners have used a long putter.
As for Scott, he began using the long putter at the 2011 WGC-Match Play Championship. This year the Australian ranks 145th on Tour in putting – slightly worse than his 143rd ranking in 2011 – but since the switch he has twice had a legitimate chance to win a major championship, at the 2011 Masters and 2012 British Open. Two years ago, with a conventional-length putter, he was ranked 186th in putting.