THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – In the aftermath of a week which saw the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club propose to ban anchored putting followed by Keegan Bradley nearly winning the World Challenge while anchoring, there was one main character that drew more focus than anybody else.
Upon the conclusion of the tournament, Bradley’s Odyssey Sabertooth belly putter sat down – OK, stood up – for an exclusive interview to discuss the recent news and his impending future.
Q: This must have been a whirlwind week for you. Have you been able to get a grip yet on what just happened?
A: Hey, my grip is one of my best physical attributes. But yeah, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions. First the proposal to ban anchored putting, then we nearly shove it right up the USGA’s, uh, belly by nearly winning the tournament. That would’ve been so sweet. But hey, I’ve got three more years of holing clutch putts ahead of me. People turn legal as they get older. Apparently we putters turn illegal. Well, some of us anyway.
Q: You know, you’re not going to be banned. You just can’t be anchored.
A: Yeah, yeah. Come on, man. Have you ever heard of a belly putter who didn’t go in the belly? That’s like me telling Mike Davis and Peter Dawson they can run golf’s governing bodies, but they can’t enforce rules. That’s their job! It’s what they do! My job is to be anchored to Keegan’s midsection and get the ball in the cup. And I’m damned good at it. Too good, actually. Maybe if I’d held back a little we wouldn’t be in this mess.
Q: But the USGA and R&A contend that this wasn’t a performance-based decision. Are you suggesting that’s untrue?
A: Suggesting? No, I’m saying it’s a fact! Let’s face it: My dad was out here on Tour three decades ago and nobody cared. In fact, people felt badly for him. He was the lovable loser of the flatstick fraternity. But I learned a lot from that stick. “Keep your head square and hit it firm,” he used to say. That’s exactly what I did at last year’s PGA Championship. I was so proud to be the first one from my family to win a major – I mean, even Keegan can’t make that claim – but as soon as we won, it was like a witch hunt to get rid of me. I guess it’s ironic that I’m the one who’s a broomstick.
Q: Speaking of that, did you hear that heckler yell, “Cheater!” at you guys from the gallery on Saturday?
A: Hear it? I felt it! As soon as those words drifted through the air, Keegan’s hands tightened like he was trying to choke the life out of me. That’s another thing: My critics all contend that using me takes the nerves out of making the stroke. Maybe my player should put his twitchy fingers all over those guys so they can feel how not nervous he really is. Anyway, I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who’s now a shower curtain rod. That heckler may want to be very careful stepping out of the tub, if you know what I mean.
Q: Did you see the USGA statement decrying the heckler for his “deplorable act”?
A: Yeah, those guys really have my back, huh? It’s like, we’re cool until they say we’re not cool anymore. I’m still waiting to find out if I’m just banned or going to be deported, too. They don’t call me Odyssey for nothing.
Q: What have the other clubs in your bag had to say?
A: Oh, they’re a great set of guys. They’ve been very sympathetic; they understand how hard I work. I mean, that 6-iron? Good dude, but he sees the light of day for about 45 minutes a week. And he doesn’t have to spend half his life with a butt end placed inside our player’s belly button. You think that feels good? I’m on a first-name basis with Keegan’s lint. That’s not normal, man. But I’m not complaining. I love my job.
Q: Any regrets over this whole episode?
A: No way. Some putters live for decades in the bags of 18-handicappers, getting pumped in celebration every time they make a 2-footer. I’ve been fortunate enough to win a major championship and compete on the game’s highest level. I’ll take a few years of this over a lifetime of being used to fish old Slazengers out of muddy ponds. I’m serious. Some of these amateurs expect us to go headfirst into murky, alligator-infested water just so we can pick up some waterlogged 30-year-old ball for them. No thanks. Not my idea of a good time.
Q: So what are you going to do come 2016?
A: I’ll find something. I’ve got a cousin who works as a walking stick for an old NBA power forward. Maybe he can put in a good word for me. I’ve also done some freelance work helping kids get Frisbees out of trees. Doesn’t pay much, but it kept me busy before Keegan got his hands on me. I’ve also got a little secret up my shaft.
Q: Can you reveal it?
A: I wasn’t going to, but why the hell not? You know that big golf ball that drops in Times Square every New Year’s Eve? Well, Dec. 31, 2015 is the last day I’m legal. Let’s just say I’ve got one final putt to make – and the whole world is going to see it.