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April 13 2011

8:03 PM

Nearly a Green Jacket for the long putter

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM Site Producer

Sounds like the most incongruous of golf pairings, but it wasn’t far from coming to fruition Sunday at Augusta – the Green Jacket and the long putter.

Adam Scott fell a little short of capturing his first major at Augusta National, but if he had it would have also

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Adam Scott nearly won a Green Jacket with his long putter.
been the first major for the long putter, the one-time curiosity that is becoming more mainstream on the PGA TOUR.

Tim Clark used one to win THE PLAYERS Championship last year and finished second with one in the 2006 Masters. Nick O’Hern and Scott McCarron also use long putters. Belly putters are even more prevalent, as we saw last month with Martin Laird and Spencer Levin using them while battling for the Arnold Palmer Invitational title.

When Jack Nicklaus won his signature sixth Green Jacket with an oversized-head Response ZT putter, the public bought thousands in the days afterward. Might the same thing have happened if Scott had won with his 49-inch Scotty Cameron Studio Select Kombi? Who knows.

But don’t expect to see Scott with anything else anytime soon. He put one in the bag earlier this year at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and it has more than earned its place.

“After I saw some putts going in, it wasn't really hard to change,” Scott said. “The rhythm with the long putter is very nice, and that's something I was fighting in my putting with the short putter. So I started practicing with it, and the more I practiced with it, the better it felt and the more putts I made and eventually it was a pretty easy decision that I should give it a run.”

Scott tied for third at the Masters and had 111 putts over four days, which tied him for third in the field behind Luke Donald and the winner, Charl Schwartzel.

MORE BELLY TALK: World No. 2 Lee Westwood couldn’t hide his disgust with his work on the greens at Augusta and went to a belly putter for the final round. The 2010 runner-up finished tied for 11th, shooting 74-70 for the weekend after a Friday 67 moved him into contention.

“To come so close last year and get myself in good shape this year and then, on the greens, it just makes me feel like pulling my hair out,” Westwood said. “I felt a little more comfortable (Sunday) with the belly putter. At least I made one 15-footer.”

Westwood added that he “didn’t see any future in the short (putter) for a while.”

ANOTHER TIGER PUTTER?: OK, maybe not yet. But this photo from his trip to China this week is amusing. Look closely and you’ll see Woods practicing a long-putter stroke with a standard-length putter.

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