SCOTTISH Open joint runner-up Matt Kuchar has no sympathy for golf’s “anchormen” as time ticks down to the putting law change at the end of the year and is delighted his own unconventional method has been given the thumbs up.
After this season, players will no longer be allowed to anchor putters against their bodies while making a stroke. So this week at St Andrews will be the last time we see the broomstick clubs held against the chest in action at an Open Championship. A group of players, the most prominent being Australia’s 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott, are facing up to the fact that a radical change to their game is just around the corner. Scott has already experimented for a few weeks with a conventional putter, but has since reverted to his tried and trusted, but soon-to-be-outlawed, style.
Kuchar’s putter features a long grip that he locks parallel to his left forearm for a more stable putting stroke – a technique officially known as the “Arm Lock”, which has been cleared by the game’s lawmakers.
Speaking at an event to promote his Bettinardi Kuchar Model 1 putter, the American, who finished a shot behind his victorious Ryder Cup team-mate Rickie Fowler at Gullane on Sunday, said: “I think anybody who doesn’t use an anchoring putter is happy the ban is coming in. I don’t think sympathy comes into it, we are competitors and look to get any advantage we can get. But the nice thing about golf is that we are a brotherhood and anybody who wants can come to me for advice on what I do. I’m happy to share it.”
Kuchar revealed that, when he made the change back in 2011, it wasn’t a time when his game was crying out for major surgery. “In 2010 I actually won the money list with a shortened putter, putting cross-handed,” explained the 37-year-old Floridian. “So in 2011 I completely changed, which seemed a silly thing after having my best year ever. I said to my wife ‘give me six weeks, and even if I’m only just the same then I’ll go back’. But I putted better straight away and it felt like I didn’t have off weeks like I used to.
“I think everybody is a bit streaky, nobody is hot all the time, but I felt my streaky times went down and I was a more consistently solid putter.”
Kuchar heads to St Andrews buoyed by his performance at Gullane, where only Fowler’s brilliance at the 18th denied him a crack at a three-way play-off that would also have included Raphael Jacquelin.
Kuchar said: “I always get excited to play over here. It’s fun golf, there are so many different shots you get to play. There aren’t very many standard, stock shots. It’s all about playing with the wind, three-quarters, knockdowns, trying to curve the ball with or against the wind. I love playing here.”