Couples weighs in on the belly putter and the anchored stroke

Couples weighs in on the belly putter and the anchored stroke

Not surprisingly, Fred Couples does not think the belly and long putter should be banned by the game's governing bodies.

"The long putter and the belly putter, I really think they are okay," Couples said Wednesday at the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry. "I just don't see anyone out there winning every tournament, and doing things that have never been done before with a belly (or long) putter."

The Presidents Cup captain wishes potential '13 foe Adam Scott had won the British Open, becoming the first to do so wielding a broomstick-style putter.

"I promise you can't take a putter like that and say here we are, I'm going to start putting well" he said. "Adam has worked very hard with that putter. I think, and wish, he would have won that tournament, but I don't believe everyone would have sat here and said, 'Wow, look here he won the tournament because he uses a broomstick putter.'"

The R&A and U.S. Golf Association are considering modifying the Rules of Golf to ban an "anchored" putting stroke, where the club pivots around a part of the body. Couples said such a change would not force the belly putter out of his hands, which he has been using since 2003 because of his long-ailing back.

"I don't know the rules, but I would use a longer putter," he said. " So I would still stand taller, basically."

He struggles with any shot on the golf course requiring him to hunch over, including a stance with the ball below his feet.

"But if I have to use a short putter, knock‑on‑wood, I don't think I'm going to go out there and not be able to function."

The real impact, Couples believes, would be on younger players that have used the unconventional-length putters since childhood.

"Keegan Bradley won the PGA. He uses a belly putter, I don't know, I've been told, but he's used the belly putter most of his life," he said. "That's a tough one to swallow."

"For me, I played 22 years using a regular putter and then I changed, but for someone who has never ever used a shorter putter, that's a little different story."

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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