Earlier this season, the PGA Tour went through an eight-week stretch where the winner was determined by a playoff or a single shot. Really, 2011 has been the year of the playoff. There have been 13 of them, which is three shy of the single-season record.
The last three weeks, though, have shown a trend of a different kind. Yes, there was a playoff between Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner for the PGA Championship, but the fact is that nontraditional putters have been on a roll.
Beginning with Adam Scott and his broomstick at Firestone, then to Bradley with the first belly putter to win a major at Atlanta Athletic Club and now to Simpson with the long putter at Sedgefield, the last three PGA Tour winners have wielded putters with unconventional length.
This might drive golfing purists to the edge. On Sunday, long putters were everywhere – in the hands of leaders, with guys who have won in the past with conventional-style putters and everywhere in between. The exposure of them on TV may have given the impression that they’ve overrun the Tour, which isn’t true.
Only three other tournaments were won on the PGA Tour this year with a long putter. Martin Laird did so at Bay Hill and Brendan Steele won the Valero Texas Open with a belly style putter. Keegan Bradley won his other PGA Tour event at the HP Byron Nelson Championship with one.