People often ask me questions about my long putter, my trademark
on the PGA Tour. I remember once I answered, "It's handy for
killing snakes on the course." But I really use it, quite
simply, because it works for me.
Recently there have been rumblings that the USGA wants to outlaw
the long putter. I don't get it: If it were such an advantage,
I'd be the best putter in the world and every guy on Tour would
have one sticking out of his bag. Everyone out here is looking
for an edge, something to take him to that elusive next level.
The reason you don't see more players on the Tour using a long
putter is that they don't need to. They are already the best
putters in the world.
I tried conventional putting. I tried putting cross-handed and
sidesaddle. During my last two years of college I tried turning
my fortunes around by turning my body around and putting
lefthanded. Nothing worked. I even quit the game for 3 1/2 years.
Then I saw some Senior tour players using the long putter. I
figured they must know something, being older and wiser, so I
went home, cut the top off my Ping Anser2, snapped the head off
a Cleveland three-wood and jammed that shaft through the top of
the putter shaft. I added a little lead tape for weighting and
Bubble Yum to keep it from rattling. It worked for me, and golf
became fun again.
January 18, 1999
I've heard all the wisecracks from fans in the gallery. Between
beers they bark, "Nice rake," and, "How do you putt with a
branding iron?" The other pros don't make fun anymore. A couple
of wins have quieted the comedians. Now not a day passes on the
practice green that someone doesn't try out my putter. It has
even been blessed by the master, Ben Crenshaw.
I think equipment should be banned if it provides an unfair
advantage, but a handful of wins in a dozen-plus years proves
the long putter is no magic wand. I'd challenge the legality of
a ban. Meanwhile, I'd use a "normal" putter and putt from my