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Opinion on long putters dramatically changed from 80s

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As the golf world continues to wait for the USGA and R&A to make a final decision later this spring regarding anchoring and the future use of long putters, an article from a 1989 edition of Golf Journal shows how dramatically opinions have changed on the issue.

The article – published in the October edition of Golf Journal, which was a USGA publication – was in response to Orville Moody’s use of a long putter to win the ’89 U.S. Senior Open.

“The use of longer putters introduces a new element, but it does not change the essential nature of the game,” said Stuart Bloch, then-chair of the equipment standards committee. “If long putters enable more people to play without jeopardizing the integrity of the game, we believe they should continue to be used.”

Moody’s victory at Laurel Valley Country Club in Ligonier, Pa., prompted the proposal that would limit a putter’s length, unlike the current proposal which addresses the stroke, not the club.

Still, then-USGA executive director David Fay’s comments demonstrate how far the powers that be have come on the issue.

“Putting is a very individual art form,” Fay said in the article. “To inhibit a golfer’s individual style would take some of the fun out of the game, and that’s not why we make rules.”