Simpson wants to be 'ready' for putter rule change

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KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – The USGA and R&A will meet this fall to discuss a potential rules change regarding the anchoring of a putter to the body.

Whatever they decide, Webb Simpson is already preparing for change – just in case.

The U.S. Open champion said Wednesday that he has been practicing “a lot” at home with the conventional putter in case the long putter is banned, even ordering two putters from Scotty Cameron a month ago. A rules change wouldn’t go into effect until 2016.

“My theory is that I’m going to be ready for it,” he said. “I don’t want to be surprised by it. I’m almost kind of telling myself to expect it, and we’ll see what happens.”

Simpson has used a belly putter since college, and says that his speed is much better with that club than with a standard-length flat stick. If the rules aren’t changed, he said he won’t switch to a conventional putter “unless I start putting bad with the belly putter.”

Asked if he thought the long putters should be banned, Simpson said, “No, and here’s why: You take a wooden driver compared to a 460-cc titanium, and to me that’s a lot bigger difference than a 35-inch putter to a 45-inch putter.” He also referenced the fact that last year, no player who finished in the top 20 in the Tour’s strokes gained-putting statistic used a long or belly putter.

Dating to last year's PGA Championship, three of the past four major winners have used a longer-than-standard-length putter.

“If anybody says it’s an advantage,” he said, “I think you’ve got to look at the stats and the facts.”