Scott opts to keep using long putter

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ADAM Scott will probably go back to using a broomhandle putter at this week’s Australian Open after “messing around” with a shorter club in practice, the world No 7 said yesterday.

The 32-year-old, who has used the long variety for the past two seasons, practised for this week’s tournament at The Lakes Golf Club with a specially-designed 40-inch putter and also used it for nine holes of the pro-am.

Broomhandle or belly putters, pioneered by 2002 European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance among others in the late 1980s, are often tucked under the chin, against the chest or stomach.

Golf’s rulemakers have proposed a ban on players anchoring long putters to their body, saying they wanted to outlaw the practice by 2016 in order to preserve the “skill and challenge” of putting.

“I ordered that putter a while back,” Scott told reporters in Sydney. “I was experimenting for my own use. I’ll probably putt with the long putter. The other one I was messing around with was my first go and it is not quite what I want it to do. It is not quite set up right for me. I’ll have another go at another time if I feel I need to.”

Scott, who won the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath in Melbourne last month, has been a vocal supporter of the longer putters and the Queenslander doubted he would change his club next year.

“I think I putt fine with any putter. I have spent the last two years learning a skill with the broomstick putter and that is what I am going to use this week, most likely. Until I invent a better way to putt for myself, I’ll stick to the broomstick. I certainly like a lot of the philosophies of putting with a broomstick.”

Even if the ban on anchoring came into force, Scott said he might still use a long putter.

“Whatever way I putt in the future, if I just move the hand off my chest an inch or a centimetre or whatever it is, I’ll be making an honest stroke. It will look exactly the same. It is simple. I can move it slightly off my chest and use the same putter but I think there are better ways than that. We are all searching for the best possible way and I think there are still better ways for me to go about it.”

Teenage Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang, who is playing against Scott this week after receiving an invitation for the event, says he has no concerns about anchoring being banned because he is equally at home with a traditional short club.

Guan, 14, who next year will become the youngest person ever to play in the US Masters, earned his ticket to Augusta by winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand last month – using a belly putter.

“I don’t think it will be a big problem for me because I do pretty well with a short putter, too. Also, it only happens in four years, so there is plenty of time still.”

Scott suffered a spectacular meltdown at the Open in July, losing a four-shot lead with four holes to play to finish second 
behind Ernie Els. While he said he had shaken off that disappointment, losing a major in that fashion has made him more 
determined to win one.

“Everyone’s path to winning a first tournament or a major is different,” he added.

“Tiger [Woods] came along and won them all right out of the gate and other guys have won the first time they’ve had 
a chance, too. Then a guy like Phil Mickelson knocked on the door a lot of times and finally won one.

“For me, I’m just looking forward to getting back in that position as soon as I possibly can, hopefully in April, and certainly this weekend as well.

“For me at the [Australian] Masters, it was great to close that tournament out when I was in a similar position.”

Despite that Royal Lytham collapse, Scott was pleased with his form in 2012. He finished in the top 15 in all four majors and had five top-10 finishes in 16 events on the PGA Tour.

Scott’s four-stroke win over Britain’s Ian Poulter at Kingston Heath last month was his first since the WGC-Bridgestone 
Invitational tournament in 2011.

“I played a lot of good golf this year, which I am very happy about,” Scott said. “A lot of stuff I have worked on has fallen into place on the course, maybe not quite as I had planned over four days consistently but there was so much good stuff there. I know I am on the right track. I just have to persevere with that. I think the results, much like the Masters a couple of weeks ago, will follow.”