May 3 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Although he said he thinks the anchored putter is "bad for the game of golf," Padraig Harrington used one in the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday.
Harrington shot an 80 -- his highest score on the PGA TOUR since 2007 -- that included nine bogeys and a lone birdie at the par-5 15th hole. But those 32 putts he took with the belly putter weren't entirely to blame; Harrington only hit eight fairways and just six greens in regulation.
The three-time major champion told ESPN that he picked up a long putter when he was "bored" last week.
"I was like, 'Oh, I wonder what that looks like,' and I was surprised to see everything was better," Harrington said. "In terms of the mechanics, it was a far better stroke."
Harrington acknowledged he was still getting used to the belly putter. He said it was "great" when he used the long version on Wednesday but added "it wasn't very good today," referrring to the first round. He still plans to use it on Friday, though.
"I just wasn't quite as comfortable, which I kind of knew was coming," Harrington said. "The grip of my normal putter is open and the grip of this is square, so I'm not quite used to it yet. There was a bit of resetting when I was over the ball, which, obviously, I prefer not to have. But that's just familiarity, and it will be interesting to give it another go tomorrow."
Harrington supports the proposed ban on anchored strokes that the USGA and R&A have targeted for 2016. But in the interim, since the belly putter and anchoring is still within the rules, the inveterate tinkerer is going to see if using it will help him break a five-year victory drought.
"I think it's bad for the game of golf," Harrington said. "[But] I'm going to use everything, if something's going to help me for the next three and a half years, I'm going to use it."