Gary Player has made no secret about his disdain for putters that PGA Tour golfers jam into their guts, sterna, and other parts of their bodies, and the nine-time major winner went on another toot against Carl Pettersson’s flat stick of choice on Thursday.
“For years, I’ve been advocating that they not allow the belly putter or the long putter,” Player stated emphatically during a conference call with reporters to promote his participation in this month’s inaugural iGate CEO Cup.
“I’ve seen people hold the putter against their nose, against their chin, against their chest,” the South African golf legend, in high dudgeon, continued, sharing his belief that pressures of the back nine on Sunday were critical to the professional game.
We’ll let The Black Knight, who’s in favor of separate rules for amateurs (who need all the help they can get) explain his support for the USGA and R&A’s proposal to ban the anchoring stroke most long putter practitioners employ:
“The reason why I think this should be stopped: many many years ago, Orville Moody, who had the yips so badly he couldn’t hole a two-foot putt, and all of a sudden [he] became the best putter on the tour [using] a long putter. His nerves were so bad and the minute he put the long putter in his hand it took the nerves right out of the game.
“I practiced as a young man, mind control....I trained myself, knowing that I was smaller than all these big guys...how to play well coming down the line under pressure. Well, today you don’t have to worry about that because the long putter and the belly putter just take the nerves right out of it....Coming down the line now you don’t have that little tremble.
“If you have a slight tremble with putting you can never be a superstar or win majors....When you anchor it it takes away the tremor and...at least 30 percent of the game is nerves coming down the last nine holes of a tournament and what its done its just eliminated 30 percent of nerves, which to me is a tragedy because that is such an integral part of the game, historic part of the game and they’ve just eliminated it.
A fervid fan of golf’s governing bodies banning the anchoring stroke, Player was equally as opinionated that there should be no waiting period.
“Why the R&A and the USGA say they’re going to give them three years grace, I don’t understand,” he said about the proposal to implement the rule change in 2016. “Why they didn’t just start it on January 1, amen, get it done; you’re going to make the rules, get it done.”
As for players like Pettersson, who said on Wednesday that he believed the proposed ban was a “witch hunt” aimed at him and his bellied brethren after Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, and Ernie Els won three of the last five majors, Player was unsympathetic.
“It’s too bad if a man’s been doing that all his life,” Player said. “You can’t have rules for a few people and if they make a rule it applies to everybody.”
Player is slated to co-host the January 12-January 13 iGate tourney on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Chief executives from Global 2000 companies will compete for a purse of $100,000, which will go to the CEOs’ favorite charities.
The winner of 165 pro events worldwide, Player will conduct a golf clinic for contestants and attend tournament receptions and the awards ceremony, the latter of which should be quite the event. The tourney has gained some measure of renown because of the trophy the winner will try to lift.
Larger than any trophy anywhere -- including the FIFA World Cup hardware -- the 21-inch tall, sculpted iGate keepsake will weigh almost 19 pounds and be bejeweled with diamonds and rubies.
Because they can.