After coming from six shots back this weekend, Ernie Els took home the big one at the British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. With his victory, Ernie also got to take home a cool $1.452 million check – not bad for a good walk spoiled.
Once Adam Scott claimed a four-shot lead with only four holes to play, it didn’t look like Els had any chance of clenchin’ victory. His come from behind story saw him defeat tremendous odds (at one point he had a 469-to-1 chance at victory) that has both him and the golfin’ world celebrating a true underdog story. One optimistic gambler even made over $32,000 on a $70 bet backing Els. It’s always good to hear about someone makin’ good on a long shot.
Part of Els’ long shot victory is bein’ attributed to his long putter. With this victory, Ernie Els is the third major champion to use a belly putter. The extra attention has brought the belly putter “firmly back on the radar” of golf’s governin’ body – the Royal & Ancient. A decision could come soon that prevents player from usin’ these clubs in future competition.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, said that the discussion about longer putters anchored to the body began long before 42-year old Els holed the fateful 15-foot putt on the 18th hole to claim the Claret Jug.
“We appreciate that there is much speculation about this and that we need to clarify the position as soon as possible,” Dawson said Monday. “And I think you’re going to see us saying something about it one way or the other in a few months, rather than a few years.”
It could be that the long putter’s days are numbered. Of course, that ain’t stoppin’ players from using them until an official ruling is made.
“As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them,” Els said back in October.
Last year at the FedEx Cup, Phil Mickelson also tried his hand with the belly putter.
“Obviously if the standard of putting goes up, which it clearly does… guys wouldn’t be using them if they didn’t putt better with them, yeah?” he said. “If the standard of putting goes up, it puts more pressure on the guys that aren’t using one just to compete. So all of a sudden, it’s hard for a normal putter. Is he doing the right thing? Should he be using the long putter? So it actually has a negative effect on others as much as a positive effect on some.”
Will the belly putter go the way of the dodo? Will it become a new standard in every golfer’s bag? Only time’s gonna tell on this one so be sure to stay tuned with Scratch! In the meantime, what do you Rockheads think? Is it time for the belly putter to go belly up? Leave yer thoughts in the comment section!