R&A and USGA set to announce decision on belly putters

Last Updated: 28/11/12 1:58pm

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The Belly Putter debate

Sky Bet

After years of debate, golf's governing bodies are set to make a decision on anchored putters later today.

The Royal & Ancient and the US Golf Association are expected to announce a a significant rule change, with strong rumours of a ban on "anchoring" putters to the body being introduced in 2016.

Three of the last five majors have been won by players using a putter anchored to the midriff - Keegan Bradley at the 2011 USPGA, Webb Simpson at the 2012 US Open and Ernie Els at The 2012 Open - which has led to claims that it gives an unfair advantage.

Those against a ban point out that the the top 15 players in the PGA Tour's main putting stat in 2012 - Strokes gained putting - all use conventional putters.

Simpson, preparing to play in this week's World Challenge event hosted by Tiger Woods, says he is ready to cope with whatever decision is handed down.

"I've been working with the short putter now for a couple of years," said the American, who switched to the belly putter in his college days in a bid for more consistency. "I'm not worried. I expected this day to come."

Woods, meanwhile, agrees with the argument that an anchored putter does not produce a true golf stroke as it lessens the effects of shaky hands.

"I just believe that the art of putting is swinging the club and controlling nerves," said Woods. "And having it as a fixed point, as I was saying all year, is something that's not in the traditions of the game."

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