News: PGA Championship
August 8 2012
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Webb Simpson has taken the last four weeks off to get acquainted with his new daughter, Willow, who was born July 28.
The first 21 days or so, golf was pretty much the farthest thing from the newly-minted U.S. Open champion’s mind. In the last two weeks, though, Simpson has played a lot of golf to get ready for the PGA Championship.
And believe it or not, the man who became the third player to win a major with a long putter has been practicing with one of standard length, too. It’s purely a precautionary measure, though.
Simpson started using a belly model when he was in college at Wake Forest. While the 27-year-old hopes the game’s governing bodies don’t decide to ban the long putter when they meet this fall, he wants to be prepared.
"I ordered two Scotty Camerons a month ago and I’ve been working with them," Simpson said. "I don’t want to be surprised by it. I’m almost kind of telling myself to expect it, and we’ll see what happens.
"Do I think they should be banned? No, and here’s why: You take a wooden driver compared to a 460 cc’s titanium, and to me that’s a lot bigger difference than a 35-inch putter to a 45-inch putter. And also last year, the strokes game putting (stat), nobody in the top 20 used a belly putter or a long putter. If anybody says it’s an advantage, I think you’ve got to look at the stats and the facts.”
Simpson says if the rule isn’t changed, he will more than likely continue to use the belly putter – unless, of course, he starts putting poorly with the longer model. That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case right now. Simpson, who defends his title at the Wyndham Championship next week, ranks 35th in strokes gained putting and leads the PGA TOUR in birdies.
"It’s one of those things for me, I don’t really care either way," Simpson said."The one area I’m a lot better with the belly putter is my speed. Even the last few weeks at home taking the short putter out on the course, my speed just both ways, hitting it too hard and too soft, and to make putts you’ve got to have great speed. So that’s my only worry is I’ve really got to work on my speed.
"But it’s one of those situations, I think all players through the years learn how to adapt to certain situations, whether it’s conditions of the weather or who you’re playing with, and so I’d just lump them in that category. I’ll just have to learn, relearn, to use a short putter."