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The Tour Report

August 24 2011

3:36 PM

Simpson no stranger to his belly putter

Live Report Image
Martin/Getty Images
Webb Simpson's belly putter has been with him his entire PGA TOUR career.

By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM

Make it three in a row for the long putters. First Adam Scott (World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational), then Keegan Bradley (PGA Championship), then Webb Simpson at last week’s Wyndham Championship.

Is this newsworthy anymore? Might not be for long (pardon the pun) when you consider players like Simpson. He wasn’t someone that picked up a belly putter looking for answers on the green well into his PGA TOUR career, like Scott and others.

His move dates to far before that.

“I switched the fall of my freshman year (at Wake Forest),” said Simpson, who wields a Ping Craz-E model. “It’s been seven years now I've used the same putter and, you know, it seems like a lot more guys are using it.

“I think you're seeing younger guys use it, more guys use it and I don't know what it is for the other guys. For me I just like it better. I putt differently with it and I've never really found anything I like better.”

With the recent run of wins, the discussion has been re-ignited about whether such putters should have been made illegal years ago, or should be made illegal now. Do they provide an unfair competitive advantage?

Phil Mickelson says no.

“I think that there's more to it than just starting the ball online and putting. You have to read the green correctly,” Mickelson said Wednesday at The Barclays. “You have to start the ball online, which the belly putter I think really helps, but you also have to have the right speed.

“And if it were going to be banned, it should have happened 20‑plus years ago. But now that it's been legal, I don't think you can make it retroactive. There have been guys that have been working with that putter for years, if not decades.”

In Simpson’s case, seven years.

Jim Furyk press conference

In the middle of talking belly putters ... the Earth moved.

SHAKING: Perhaps Mother Nature dislikes the long putters. In the middle of Jim Furyk’s press conference Tuesday at The Barclays – while he was discussing belly putter tips he got from Bradley – the Earth moved. Check it out on the right.

MIXED BAG: It’s not uncommon for pros to mix and match clubs in the bag come tournament days, but Tom Lehman’s is quite the spectacle. At the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, Lehman carried a Cobra K forged 3-iron, a TaylorMade RAC prototype 4-iron, TaylorMade Tour Preferred 5- and 8-irons, a Tour Preferred Muscle Back 6-iron, Tour Burner 7-iron and Tour Preferred Muscle Cavity 9-iron and pitching wedge.

That’s six different models from two manufacturers in one iron set. Oh, and he also had Titleist Vokey wedges. A very mixed bag but he’s doing something right – Lehman leads the Charles Schwab Cup standings.

TWO GLOVES, ONE DRIVER: Tommy Gainey finished third at the Wyndham with a new driver, a Callaway 10.5-degree Diablo Octane Tour. He was sixth in driving distance for the week with a 313.4-yard average. Earlier in the year he used a TaylorMade R11.