Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Harrington switches to belly putter

Padraig Harrington intends to use a longer putter at the Wells Fargo Championship

Less than a year after wishing anchored putters would swiftly be banned, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington has said he intends to use one in the Wells Fargo Championship which starts on Thursday.

After the Open Championship last year, which was won by Ernie Els using a belly putter, Harrington said: "I suspect that they (the R&A) are going to ban them. That's more or less the consensus; they're going to have a two-year grace (period) a bit like the grooves. I just hope that they don't wait too long - I hope they don't wait until I'm 50 years of age to change the rule."

The R&A and USGA - the game's governing bodies - subsequently proposed a ban on anchored strokes which would come into effect from 2016, but Harrington wrote on his personal website: "The main thing that I changed in the last week is my putter. I was at home last week and I was messing around with a belly putter and it felt very good."

He continued: "I decided to bring it with me this week and see how it would go in practice.

"Having used it for the two days I am probably going to use it in the tournament; I putted nicely with it in the pro-am and so am happy to try it out.

"I like the course (Quail Hollow) and have had some good results here over the years.

"I am out early on Thursday and late Friday. Whilst a little rusty, I know that my game is in good shape and I am feeling positive about my new putter so I am looking forward to a good week."

Proponents of anchored putters have opposed the ban, claiming there is no reason for it now after long putters have been in use since the 1980s, although four of the last six majors have been won by players using anchored putters.

"The fact is, if somebody invented the belly putter tomorrow, it would not pass," Harrington added at last year's Open. "I think we could all agree with that.

"The only reason it got through is the people that used it 20 years ago were coming to the end of their careers and people would have been sympathetic and didn't want to finish Bernhard Langer's career by telling him you can't hold it like this, you can't attach it to your arm."

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