Matt Kuchar may have been on the receiving end of a 6&5 quarter-final thrashing by Hunter Mahan at the Accenture Match Play Championship on Saturday, but the affable long-putter advocate said he may have single-handedly saved the big bat from extinction.
“I made a real good case of no reason to outlaw the belly putter,” Kuchar told NBC’s Jimmy Roberts after making five bogeys in 13 holes on a day when he lacked his usual consistent stuff. “I was terrible with the belly putter today. I probably made a case for not outlawing it. It was a rough day.”
About the only thing that Kuchar said would make him feel better about his less-than-stellar play was “just get a good punch right in the back of Nick Faldo,” he said with a laugh that was not quite jovial. “I think that’s the only way I’d really feel better right now.”
Kuchar wanted to take a karate chop to the golf analyst, who, along with Johnny Miller and Brandel Chamblee, had recently put some serious hating on the flat stick that has become a critical tool in the games of Kuchar, PGA champ Keegan Bradley, and a gaggle of other golfers — one that the USGA has said it may consider outlawing.
“It’s called a golf swing, not a golf anchor,” Faldo said during Golf Channel’s “State of the Game” round-table discussion with Miller, Chamblee, and Dan Hicks on Friday night. “If the amateurs — for the enjoyment of the game, let them do whatever they like. But for professionals, I think we should start looking at all our rules, or quite a few on the equipment, like the size of the driver face.”
Given what the other pundits had to say about Kuchar’s putter size of choice, Roberts wondered why the world’s 14th-ranked player had singled out Faldo in what amounted to as much of a post-round rant as you’re likely to hear from the mild-mannered Georgia Tech grad. It was Miller, after all, who — as is his habit — claimed he was the first golfer on tour to win with a long putter.
He added, however, that he never anchored it to his body the way Bradley did when the New Englander became the first player to win a major with an oversized putter.
“I put it up the left arm, so it was moving,” said Miller. Bracing the club, he noted, helps golfers eliminate errors that result from pushing and pulling shots, which provides “a huge advantage and I think the USGA doesn’t like that.”
Chamblee chimed in with his opposition to the anchoring mechanism of the short stick.
“I’m glad [USGA chief executive] Mike Davis is looking at the anchor putter,” said Chamblee. “I am all for two sets of rules for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is eliminating the long putter in the professional ranks.”
And so the debate rages on — despite Kuchar’s best efforts to put it to rest.