Ernie Els says Open Championship win impossible without belly putter
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Ernie Els says 2012 Open Championship win impossible without belly putter

Without a belly putter lodged in his gut last July at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, Ernie Els said Wednesday he would not have won the Claret Jug.

Els was speaking at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event, a day after the game's governing bodies made official their intention to enact an anchoring ban on Jan. 1, 2016.

"I was in such a state on the greens then that I don't think I could have won the Open with a short putter," the 43-year-old said at Wentworth Club in England. "It was a psychological thing for me and even with the long putter I didn't putt that great - I was probably in the bottom 10 of the putting stats at Lytham."

The four-time major winner, however, believes he now can contend with a traditional stroke.

"But I'm in a much better place now," said Els. "I feel I can get back to working with the short putter again in the future."

Despite his putting confidence, Els said he will continue to use the belly putter through the majors this season.

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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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