Robert Garrigus has used a putter that barely reached his knees as well as one that he jammed into his chest and he believes the USGA and R&A should take their proposed ban on anchored strokes and, well, cease and desist.
"My thoughts are that let us play golf and leave us alone, pretty much," Garrigus told reporters Friday after carding a second-round 5-under 66 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Garrigus was known for many years as the guy crouched over a 28-inch putter until he tinkered briefly last year with a model he jammed into his chest. Now back to using a conventional stick after finding little success with a 46-incher, Garrigus has let USGA executive director Mike Davis and PGA Tour commission Tim Finchem know exactly what golf’s governing bodies can do with their rules.
“I just asked one simple question. I asked [Davis] out of the 15 [USGA executive] board members that vote on our game, our professional game, how many of them have ever struck a shot in competition?” Garrigus said. “That was zero, and that's all I needed to hear.”
Garrigus suggested that the powers-that-be go back to the tape -- specifically of him blowing the 54-hole lead at last year’s Canadian Open when he couldn’t roll a ball into the Grand Canyon -- for proof that long putters offer no advantage.
“I couldn’t make a thing on the last day with a long putter,” Garrigus said. “Couldn’t sniff the hole from three feet. And they think it’s cheating? I giggled at that.”
What Garrigus was not chuckling about was the notion that Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, and Webb Simpson -- the belly-putting winners of three of the last five major championships -- were breaking the rules.
“So what, they won [three] majors; how many other people have won majors with regular putters?” Garrigus asked rhetorically of ESPN.com's Michael Collins. "It's just unfortunate they've got to try to say that it's overwhelming the game. And I think that's ridiculous."
Garrigus took particular issue with the suits telling touring pros that they can adapt to whatever the rules czars determine is best for the game.
“[Davis] doesn't have to make a putt for a million dollars,” Garrigus said. “They're amateurs policing a professional game. It's just unfortunate.”
Bradley, who got his wish to play with his mentor Phil Mickelson in the final group on Saturday, has backed off from combative comments he made immediately after the USGA announced the proposed ban in November.
"I'm going to let the USGA go through their process," Bradley said Friday after firing an 8-under 63 to get into a tie for third, five strokes behind Mickelson. "They're still in the process of determining whether they're going to make it a rule. They still have to vote in a couple weeks. But until then, I'm just going to kind of sit back and do my thing.
Bradley add, that he would "have to wait and see what they say, and whatever they come up with, obviously I'm going to have to follow. I know that they're trying to do what's in the best interest of the game, which I respect."
While a heckler at Tiger Woods’ World Challenge in December called Bradley a cheater for using a belly putter, the 2011 PGA champ said the raucous fans at TPC Scottsdale’s notorious 16th hole have been “extremely supportive” of his flat stick of choice.
"The guys on 16 have been yelling to me about the belly putter, how much they love it,” he said. “Maybe the USGA needs to go hang out on the 16th hole, the very pro-belly-putter area."