Adam Scott opts to stick with his long-putter
For now, Adam Scott is set to stick with the broomstick. Having experimented with a shorter putter on Tuesday - and for half of Wednesday's Australian Open pro-am - Scott still wants to use his broomstick well into next year.
''I'll probably putt with the long putter,'' Scott said of his plans for this week's Open, which begins on Thursday at the Lakes. ''I've spent the last two years learning a skill with a broomstick putter, and that's what I'm going to use to effect this week, most likely.''
Scott said he had been experimenting with the shorter, 40-inch putter - which was not anchored to his body - ''for my own amusement'' this week.
''I ordered that putter a while back,'' the world No.7 said. ''It's just slightly longer than a short putter. The other one I was messing around with was my first go.
''It's just not quite what I wanted to do, not quite set up right for me. So I'll have another go at that another time if I feel the need to.
''Unless I invent a better way to putt, for myself, then I'll stick with the broomstick ... If there are better ways than that - I think we're all searching for the best possible way, and there are still better ways for me to go about it.''
Yet the changes to the rules surrounding broomstick and belly putters - which are likely to be imposed in 2016 - clearly do not amuse Australia's top-ranked player, who has been using a broomstick for almost two years.
''That's what the governing bodies have come out and said, but it has been for the last 30 years,'' Scott said. ''I mean, all of a sudden they've changed their mind for whatever reason. They don't like seeing kids putt with a belly putter, is what they're saying.
''It doesn't worry me. Everyone's got their opinion about the game. My view on the whole thing, overall, is if they're going to make decisions like that, they be consistent like that philosophy throughout the whole game of golf. Then I'll have no problem. I think it's a very big call that they've made and only time will tell if it's the right call for the game or not.''
During Wednesday's pro-am, Scott used the shorter putter for the first nine holes but abandoned it in favour of his long club on the back nine, spending significant time on the greens honing his putting.
The tournament favourite had his problems away from the greens, too, putting three balls in the water on the par-five 11th, although the windy conditions made life difficult for the best players on course as well as the amateurs.
Later, Scott said he would only agree with the decision by the Royal & Ancient and US Golf Association if they were ''consistent with their philosophy of bringing the game back to its traditions''. Asked to clarify, he said: ''I think length is commonly acknowledged as the biggest problem in the game of golf, not just how far pros hit it, but how long courses are having to be built now. That certainly has a massive impact on the industry: cost, time, all those things which are turning people away from the game, at the end of the day. That's certainly not what we want to do.''
Scott will approach his home Open in good form, having won the Australian Masters. Yet many will wonder whether there are still residual effects from his collapse at this year's British Open, in which he gave up a four-stroke lead with four holes to play.
He can take heart from the comments of American Tom Watson, who said on Tuesday the ''hate'' and ''anger'' he felt after fading in the 1974 US Open was the motivation for him going on to win eight majors.
''Everyone's path to winning a first major is different,'' Scott said. ''Tiger [Woods] came along and won right out of the gate. Other guys have won the first time they had a chance to, others like Phil Mickelson knocked on the door a lot of times and finally won.
''Tom Watson let one slip and then probably won the next eight times he got a chance. I'm just looking forward to getting back in that position as soon as I possibly can. Hopefully in April [in the US Masters].''
Sydney Morning Herald