Adam Scott set to ditch broomstick putter
Appearing resigned to the inevitable, Adam Scott is preparing to roll the dice and ditch his beloved broomstick putter as he chases a second Australian Open crown.
World No 7 Scott raised eyebrows when he played his practice round at The Lakes on Tuesday without his trusty long wand, indicating he's seriously considering leaving it in the locker room for Thursday's opening round at The Lakes.
With golf's rule makers poised to outlaw putters anchored to the body, Scott is clearly already planning for life after the broomstick which he has wielded with such great effect while reviving his career over the past two years.
Playing alongside American great Tom Watson, who prior to teeing off on Tuesday endorsed the proposed ban of long putters, Scott instead used an oversized traditional blade.
Although it was marginally longer than a regular short stick, Scott's putter - significantly - was not anchored to any part of his body.
There was a clear gap of about six to eight centimetres between Scott's midriff and the putter handle.
The Australian No.1 did, however, retain the so-called claw grip, presumably to minimise any change to his putting routine.
While any potential banning of anchored putters by the Royal & Ancient and USGA is unlikely to be enforced before 2016, Scott is obviously eager to make the adjustment sooner rather than later.
The 32-year-old clinched the Australian Masters last month using a broomstick putter, but has secured 16 of his 19 professional wins with a traditional putter.
Still, ditching the long putter as he eyes a second Stonehaven Cup and while in pursuit of Australian golf's coveted triple crown would be quite the gamble.
Watson, for his part, believes golf officials are right to ban long putters.
"And I say that with mixed emotions," said the eight-times major champion.
"This (a broomstick stroke) is not a stroke of golf. That's not a stroke but it makes it easier to play.
"My son Michael, with a conventional putting stroke, he couldn't make it from two feet half the time, but he went to a belly putter and he makes everything.
"The game is fun to him now, so there lies the danger: Do we take the ability for people to have fun away?
"Do we go to two sets of rules, where some people can use (long putters) in certain competitions, but the PGA Tour maybe can't?
"So there's a dilemma there."
Three of the past five major championship winners have triumphed using long putters, including South African Ernie Els when he capitalised on Scott's collapse at the British Open in July.
"I thought Ernie Els said it perfectly after he won last year's Open championship," Watson said.
"He was asked: 'Why did you go with the long putter Ernie?'
"And he said: 'I'm cheating like the rest of them are'.
"Ernie's a great player and he knows the difference between doing it the (conventional way) versus trying to do it (with an anchored putter). The arc of your putter doesn't change as much.
"He knows that difference and he knows it's not right."
Scott, meanwhile, will tee off alongside English drawcard Justin Rose in the feature group for the first two rounds of this week's Open in Sydney.
World No 4 Rose and seventh-ranked Scott are the top two players in the 156-man field and will tee off at 7.10am (AEDT) on Thursday.
Rose and Scott will be joined by Chinese No.1 Liang Wen-Chong.
Watson has been paired with defending champion Greg Chalmers and rising star Jake Higginbottom in Thursday's marquee afternoon grouping.