And then I watched Adam Scott brandish that broomstick at the Chevron Match Play Championships and suddenly the "sexiest golfer on tour" looked like an old man.
There has always been a lot of controversy over the use of the long putter, and since the beginning of that debate I've strongly supported the side that said, "Ban them on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour."
Ernie said it in 2004 when Trevor Immelman won his first event outside of South Africa - the Deutsche Bank-SAP Tournament Players Championship of Europe. As far as the Big Easy was concerned, "It's become such an easy way to putt. Nerves and skill in putting is part of the game. Take a tablet if you can't handle it."
It didn't surprise me to learn that Ernie was against the use of long flat sticks. And I wasn't even shocked to discover Colin Montgomery, who started using a broom handle in 2002, said they should be illegal.
“Though it is hardly in my interests to say so, I think that all long putters – yes, all of them – should be declared illegal. Long putters – be they anchored to the chin, the chest or belly – all give the player the three pivotal points of two hands and the body rather than just the two hands. It is extraordinary, to me, that golf officialdom (the Royal and Ancient Golf Club) has not acted on this score.”
What did surprise me was learning that Adam Scott had spoken out against them as well. Interesting...
There is no doubt that long putters help players get the ball in the hole sooner, but does that make them good for the game? There are rules and standards on driver heads. Square grooves that helped players nail their wedges from the rough were outlawed last year. It's time to take another look at putters and enforcing some standards there.
I'm fine with keeping long putters on the Champions Tour to help seniors extend their careers when their aging bodies (or nerves) need a little help.
But for anyone under 50 who wants to compete as a professional, then they should just "take a pill" and learn to putt the hard way. That's what separates the field into champions and also-rans.
And while I'm on this rant...Let me say that I'm absolutely against long putters on the greens at the 2016 Olympics. It took over 100 years to get golf back into the Winter Games. Let's not embarrass the sport by allowing the 14th club in the bag to be a crutch.
Now that I'm enjoying my "twilight years" I keep hearing that 50 is the new 40.
Adam just turned 30 last summer. And putting long putters in the hands of flat bellies like Adam, 30 is sadly becoming the new 50. :-(