Keegan Bradley & Ernie Els would fight a rumoured ban on long putters
Keegan Bradley and Ernie Els have become the latest players to voice their concern about a rumoured ban on long putters.
Last Updated: 01/11/12 1:20pm
Speculation is rife that golf's authorities have privately taken the decision to outlaw both 'broomstick' and 'belly' putters, with a pronouncement expected to be made public in the next few weeks.
Bradley - who won the 2010 USPGA Championship with a belly putter - has reacted angrily to the suggestion and is adamant he would fight such a ruling all the way.
"I'm going to do whatever it takes to protect myself and the guys on tour, whatever that is," stated the 26-year-old at the WGC-HSBC Champions event in China.
The American insists he would have the backing of many of his peers, adding: "I think we all would be together on this. We're all in the same boat. A lot of us feel strongly about the hours of practice we've put in that they're saying is basically for nothing now.
"I just think they'd be taking away hours and hours of my practice and guys other than me that have used it. And I think that would be a shame."
Open champion Els, who only switched to a belly putter this season, claimed that golf's governing bodies could well face a legal challenge if they attempt to implement a ban.
"I believe they [the R&A and USGA] are going to have a couple of legal issues coming their way," said the South African. "We are talking about people's livelihoods."
No quick fix
The four-time major champion went on to dismiss the idea that longer putters offer some kind of 'quick fix' and claimed they merely provide an alternative rather than a magical cure.
"It's not just about tucking it into your belly and you start holing putts," Els added. "A lot of work has to go into it to perfect your style. You still feel the nerves and you can still miss."
A clearly affronted Bradley claimed that the proposed move would also demean his achievements and serve to discourage large numbers of people from taking up the game.
"Everybody on Tour who uses an unconventional putter has a big say in this," he continued. "I hear the USGA and the R&A have talked to a lot of players about this. Well, they've never approached me. They should get our side before they make any drastic decision - which I think they already have.
"To say they will ban this after we've won majors is unbelievable. It's the way we've practised and made our living. Some players have put in 15 to 20 years of practice and all of a sudden they're going to make up a rule. That's harsh.
"It would be a very sad thing for people to look back and see our achievements with a belly putter and think, 'Oh, that shouldn't even count'.
"The USGA [United States Golf Association] and the R&A's [Royal and Ancient Golf Club] goal is to attract players to the game and I think this would be pushing players away."