Augusta National’s greens are among the trickiest and scariest in golf, so it’s no real surprise that Adam Scott has swept the conventional-length putter he used in three events this year out of his bag and will play next week with the broomstick model that helped him win the 2013 Masters title.
Scott, who started out strong but sagged recently after switching briefly to a short stick untethered to his body, told PGATour.com that the new club was out and the old one was in, and there’s nothing wrong or nefarious about that.
"Putting with a longer putter is maybe the smarter thing to do," Scott said. "I don't know. It's all about the lag putting. It's such a difference in weight of club and stroke and everything. I'm just trying to figure it all out."
Scott and all other fans of the anchored putting stroke must make a permanent change by next January, but until then the big baton is legit even in a major championship.
Per @beneverill Adam Scott going back to long putter for Masters. Good move. He should. The anchored stroke remains legal for now.— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) April 1, 2015
The problem, as Keegan Bradley -- the poster boy for anchoring when he became the first player with a belly putter to win a grand slam event -- well knows, is that the average golf fan may view anchorers as scofflaws. Bradley, whose sole major title came at the 2011 PGA Championship, was the object of derision and had to defend himself against cheating charges back in 2012, when an ignorant spectator hassled him during the World Challenge.
Scott will take a break from experimenting with the Odyssey White Ice Core #7, though he will have to maneuver it or something like it no later than Jan. 1, 2016. For next week, at least, the world’s sixth-ranked golfer will reunite with the 49-inch Scotty Cameron Futura X model he used to defeat the field two years ago.
Breaking; Adam Scott to swtich from short putter to a Manual Vacum Cleaner in a bid to claim his second green jacket. pic.twitter.com/pbLEQ5CHzL— Tweeter Alliss (@TweeterAlliss) April 1, 2015
Scott began his abbreviated odyssey with the short putter last month at Doral, where he finished T4 and 12th in strokes gained-putting. He went on to miss the cut at the Valspar Championship, his first MC in 45 tour events, and scuffled to a T35 outcome at Bay Hill.
The stats, according to GolfChannel.com’s Ryan Lavner, tell the tale. With five missed putts within five feet and 11 inside 10 feet at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Scott has whiffed 18 times on putts 10 feet in length or shorter in his last eight rounds, Lavner said.
ESPN.com’s once-and-future columnist, Jason Sobel, ignited a mini-firestorm on Twitter by wondering if some would require an asterisk by Scott’s name if he were to emerge victorious at Augusta.
Adam Scott tells AAP he'll go back to anchored putter for Masters. Yikes. Even though it's still legal, if he wins he'll be vilified.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) April 1, 2015
Much flack ensued, though Sobel referred to the opinion of someone who ought to know about such things.
Text from ex-anchoring PGA Tour pro on Scott's decision: "Not surprised. Known quantity for him. Gonna get ugly if he plays well, though."— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) April 1, 2015
Scott rode to the top of the world rankings last May on the back of his broomstick, but he’ll have to dismount sooner rather than later.
Bradley, by the way, has not enjoyed tremendous success since he swapped out his Odyssey White Hot XG Sabertooth belly putter for an Odyssey Versa 90 Sabertooth. Prior to last week's Shell Houston Open, he had two top-20 finishes and a missed cut in seven tour starts in 2015.
Despite ranking 132nd in strokes gained-putting before his final tuneup for the Masters (compared to 47th last year), birdie putts like this one on the par-4 first hole that got him to 11-under for the week in Houston will likely have Bradley navigating Augusta without an anchor: