Wednesday 13 December 2017

Langer should get a grip in putter debate

Karl MacGinty

HOW great it was to see 'old age burn and rage' at Turnberry!

Passion is the high-octane fuel that drives all sport.

And the gentlemen of senior golf still crackle and pop -- at the same time keeping the language much cleaner than Tiger and Co.

Fred Couples won the British Senior Open with a birdie-birdie finish but also had a highly entertaining ding-dong with a tournament ref along the way.

Given a bad time after dwelling too long over his second shot on the 13th hole, Couples issued the official with a warning of his own.

"If I get another bad time there's going to be trouble -- it's not me," he fumed, referring to playing companion Bernhard Langer, standing nearby.

While the furious Couples three-putted at 13 for bogey, Langer fell apart after being put on the clock, surrendering five shots and the tournament in the space of five holes.

Langer's own hackles rose last Wednesday at the mention of plans to ban long putters. "So it was okay until somebody won a Major, then it's not okay," he said. "I don't take that argument whatsoever. There were guys using it for 25, 30 years and nobody won a Major. Now because three guys have won, it's illegal. That doesn't make sense."

Sorry, Herr Langer, it makes perfect sense. The final stages of last Sunday's Senior Open offered further evidence of the advantages lent by long putters under pressure.

Of the top-five finishers at Turnberry, three used long putters -- winner Couples, runner-up Mark Hallberg and Carl Mason (who tied third).

Meanwhile, of the top-nine finishers, just four used conventional putters.

The advantage of being able to anchor the club and take potentially fidgety wrists out of the equation was plain.

Langer will be 58 when his beloved broomhandle get the chop in January 2016. Instead of whining, he should be grateful for another 41 months grace!

Irish Independent

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