Keegan Bradley is not pleased that a pending decision from the USGA and R&A will likely outlaw the way he navigates the greens, but the 2011 PGA champ won’t make waves if golf’s governing bodies make him remove his putter from his mid-section.
“I’m obviously not happy with the ruling but I respect the USGA, especially [executive director] Mike Davis, and they make the rules and I’ll adjust appropriately,” Keegan told reporters Tuesday ahead of this week’s World Challenge event. “I’m going to accept the challenge and hopefully do well when they do ban it.”
Bradley, the first PGA Tour player to win a major championship while wielding a belly putter, said that, unlike reigning U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson, he would not tinker with a conventional flat stick until he had to. He also said he was not among those who have threatened to sue golf’s rules-makers over what most observers believe will be a prohibition against the way golfers wedge putters into their bodies.
“I never said that. I never said the word ‘sue,’ I never said the words ‘legal action,’” said Bradley, who spoke as if he knew what the USGA and R&S will mandate when they make their long-awaited announcement on Wednesday. “Somehow it got twisted around into that. I have total respect for Mike Davis and the USGA...It doesn’t mean that I’m happy with the decision.”
Bradley seemed to back down from some fighting words he used earlier this season.
"I'm going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on tour," Bradley told Golf Channel’s Alex Miceli. "I look at it as a whole, as us all together. I don't look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we've done what we've done is unbelievable."
Tuesday, however, Bradley sounded resigned to the expected edict and more conciliatory in his remarks, though he claimed that anchoring provided no competitive edge to its proponents.
“If we had such an unfair advantage, you’d see more guys using [long putters],” he said. “There’s only been one guy in the top 30 in strokes gained-putting tbat uses a long putter and that’s Carl Pettersson. The rest of us are in the middle of the pack with this. You see guys on Sundays making these putts but you see guys every Sunday making putts, but for us it's been magnified. You got Webb Simpson winning a major, you’ve got myself, Adam Scott’s contending every week.
“And that’s unfair when people say that,” Bradley added. “It upsets me a little because in a weird way it’s kind of like saying, ‘you’re doing something better that I can't do,’ and I don’t think that that’s right.”
Bradley also made it clear he would not join Ernie Els if the 2012 British Open winner followed through on previous threats to take the USGA/R&A to court.
"They’re going to have a couple of legal matters coming their way," Els said in October prior to the HBSC WGC Championship. "It's going to be a bit of an issue now."
Bradley said he never subscribed to Els’ approach and would not after Wednesday.
“I’m going to obviously obey the rules and respect what the USGS does,” Bradley said. “I’m not going to cause a big problem.”