Harrington switches to belly putter

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 02, 2013
Padraig Harrington will try anything that makes him play better golf, even a method of putting he believes should be outlawed. Despite his support of a proposed rule that would ban anchored strokes, Harrington switched to the belly putter Thursday in the Wells Fargo Championship. It didn't appear to help him much - he made only one birdie in a round of 80 - but he plans to stick with it. ''I took it out last week, and mechanically, everything I do with my putting stroke is better with the belly putter than without it,'' he said. Harrington is a ''Working for Golf'' ambassador for the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which along with the U.S. Golf Association proposed the new rule last November that would ban the anchored stroke. It has become one of the most divisive issues in golf. A final ruling is expected by the end of the month. Switching to the belly putter hasn't changed Harrington's mind. He still thinks it should be banned. Then again, this is an Irishman who wears glasses even though he has 20/20 vision. Harrington, though, was quick to point out that it's within the rules at the moment, and will be until 2016 even if the governing bodies adopt the proposed rule on anchoring. ''I don't support the belly putter,'' Harrington said. ''I think it's bad for the game of the golf. If something is going to help me for the next 3 1/2 years, I'm going to use it. It's the same as the box grooves. It's hurt me deeply having the box grooves banned, but I knew it wasn't for the good of my game. It was the good of their game.'' Harrington has only one official win since the last of his three majors in the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills. He has struggled mightily with his putting, and in recent months has been using ''SAM PuttLab,'' which analyzes 28 parameters of the putting stroke. ''I've been working on that for a good while, and my putting stroke has been coming around,'' Harrington said. ''I was bored last Monday and I was like, `Oh, I wonder what that looks like.' And I was surprised to see everything was better. In terms of mechanics, it was a far better stroke.'' He used the belly putter in his pro-am round Wednesday and said it went great. ''It wasn't very good today, but I will use it again tomorrow, no doubt,'' he said. ''I just wasn't quite as comfortable, which I kind of knew was coming. 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. It will be interesting to give it another go tomorrow.'' Four of the last six major champions have used an anchored putting stroke, starting with Keegan Bradley at the 2011 PGA Championship and the most recent Adam Scott at the Masters, using his broom-handled putter. Harrington compared the anchored stroke to the change in box grooves, or square grooves, in the 5-iron through wedges. Changes to the dimensions of those grooves changed in 2012, and the Irishman said it affected his game. He believes it has cost him at least one shot per round because he hasn't adjusted to the change. Likewise, he said some players will struggle to adapt to the conventional putter if the ban is adopted. ''It's not for the good of some individuals, but for the good of the game, absolutely,'' he said. ''For the majority, I believe anchoring shouldn't be there. It doesn't look good. The commentators are talking about it. You guys are talking about it now. It's a story, just like the grooves. As much as the grooves cost me dearly ... six months after they were gone, nobody talked about it. It will be the same with the putter.'' Harrington said last year after the British Open - won by Ernie Els, who used a belly putter - that he hoped the R&A didn't wait until he was 50 to outlaw anchoring. Now, he might be on borrowed time. The 41-year-old figures he'll be more competitive before 2016 than after the ban might take effect. ''It's not such a big issue,'' he said. ''But then again, I might use it for the next 3 1/2 years. As I said, I have no problem using something within the rules of the game. If somebody wants to give me a couple of shots handicap, I'll take that, too.'' No one was more surprised than Harrington that he went to the belly putter. He messed around with it in recent years and never liked how it felt. Only when he saw the results from his putting analysis did he decide it was worth a shot. ''That encouraged me to get over the `I don't like the feel of this' because I accelerate better, and I do so many things better with it,'' he said. ''Before it was a feel thing. Now I'm saying, `Well, I can get through the feel thing.' If it's going to be a better putting stroke, why not?''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Why are Saints holding out on contract talks with Drew Brees?

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Colts' Jones suspended four games for PED use

Report: Royals have interest in Nick Markakis

Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence 911 call released

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Jay Bruce drawing trade interest

Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker