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Golfers in the driving seat as player power grows

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Iain Carter | 16:14 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2012

No player should be bigger than their sport but in men's professional golf we are getting to a tipping point that calls into question who is running the game.

The very top golfers play power games which have nothing to do with the length they despatch their drives. With their incredible wealth, these leading stars have the clout to influence significantly how the game is governed.

We have just seen the world's top two players ignore a World Golf Championships event, another major winner suggest he is ready to take legal action to prevent a rule change and the European Tour alter its qualifying criteria to suit its biggest names.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods sat out the WGC Champions in Shenzhen last week. This is one of four events in the tier of tournament immediately below the quartet of majors that provide golf's yardstick.

Keegan Bradley

USPGA champion Keegan Bradley says he will consider taking legal action against golf's governing bodies if they decide to ban long putters. Photo: Getty  

It just did not suit their schedules. In most other sports the athletes fit around the game's calendar. But in this instance golf's two biggest stars were writing letters of apology to the sponsors.

At the same time sizable cheques were being passed to them for playing an exhibition match against each other in the same country and same week as the official tournament.

Of course they should make the most of their market value, but the fact that Woods and McIlroy felt able to snub the schedule should be of great concern to the blazer brigade.

Ironically it probably helped the sponsors drive through their desire to make this tournament a full WGC event. From next year it will carry all the bells and whistles of the three American-based Championships.

It will be interesting to see what impact its yield of FedEx Cup points will have on the entry list when Ian Poulter defends his title in Shanghai next year.

Poulter, by the way, is now a two-times WGC champion, which undoubtedly elevates his standing in the game.

Achieving his biggest strokeplay title in China also has added value because this is now the game's battleground region. Players, managers, sponsors and administrators know this is where the big money is to be made.

And if Tianlang Guan fulfils his prodigious potential, expect a fair chunk of that cash to head in the direction of him and his associates. At 14 he has just won the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship.

This is a tournament set up by the Augusta National and Royal and Ancient golf clubs. These two power-brokers want their piece of the expanding Asian empire and this event gives them a foothold.

As a result Guan earns a place at next year's Masters. He will compete at Augusta 10 months after another 14-year-old from China, Andy Zhang, qualified for the US Open.

These players represent the next generation, but the shape of the golfing landscape they will inherit looks like being determined by today's star names.

For example, will the use of extended putters be permitted? As noted in an earlier blog, the R&A and United States Golf Association are seriously considering banning such implements by outlawing the use of anchor points in the stroke.

But it seems they face a fight if they want to push through such legislation.

Keegan Bradley, a pro completing only his second full season on the PGA Tour, feels financially secure enough to consider legal action to contest the move.

Bradley won last year's PGA Championship and was a star of the American Ryder Cup team. He is looking to others like Webb Simpson and Ernie Els, who also used extended putters to win majors, to join him in the fight.

The prospect of golfers taking governing bodies to court is a worrying one with only one certainty - money will leave the game and head into the pockets of lawyers.

But the very existence of such a notion illustrates further the power top players hold.
A few weeks ago Luke Donald's suggestion that the Ryder Cup should be regarded as a counting event on the European Tour was swiftly accepted.

It has clearly been judged vital to keep the continent's biggest stars happy, even when it means we do not see as much of them competing on the Tour's schedule.

Effectively this move means that the American-based Europeans have to play one fewer event, which hardly helps bolster a Tour struggling to cope with the impact of the Eurozone crisis.

With Peter Hanson the latest to say he will play the US circuit full-time next season, it is conceivable that of the Ryder Cup team victorious at Medinah, only Paul Lawrie will be fully committed to the European Tour.

Again this is an example of players exploiting rights they have earned. It also provides another indicator that in golf the biggest players can largely please themselves.
They are getting as big as the game itself.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    welcome back blog :-)

  • Comment number 2.

    Iain some very good points ,maybe you should have a holiday more often !!!!!

    Do you believe golf (due to the amount of money now in the sport) is starting to go down the same root as football and all the prima donna's involved in that sport.

    Yes all the players should be able to choose there playing schedule,but why are the PGA events (nearly) always worth more ranking points than the European tournaments.
    Surely an easy way around the problem would be to give the week to week tournaments equal billing and possibly insist that both sets of tour players are allowed to play less amount of tournaments on there main tour but also a minimum amount of tournaments on the "other" tours.


    Congratulations also must go to Ian Poulter on a fantastic win,although I'm sure one or two on here will say because the Top 2 didn't play,and that some players "choked" :-) (you all know who you are)

  • Comment number 3.

    Ian good to have you back, a good blog covering all the recent topics.
    The belly putter argument/ standpoint is not going to go away and the fact that 3 majors have been won using one will make it all the more difficult to change the rules and will to a degree discredit those wins.
    Poulter is now living up to his own hype and fair play to the guy, to have the guts to be his own man and say yeah I believe in myself is not to be frowned at.
    As for the top two missing the WGC would they have missed it if they had not been offered the chance to earn a vast amount of money for a one off one round exhibition? I doubt it, schedules had nothing to do with it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Welcome back Iain, hope Florida was to your liking. You have certainly opened up a number of points for discussion in the article. Player power, long putters, children at Augusta,the demise of the Euro Tour and rise of the Asian Tour.
    As you also mentioned the Ryder Cup it has to be done.
    G Bear. Hahahahahahahahaha.

  • Comment number 5.

    @4 wcihis

    I agree Golden bear Hahahahahahaha Who won the RC ?

  • Comment number 6.

    Iain,

    Great blog,

    I couldn't resist sending a slightly "trollish" tweet to McIlroy when I heard the news. I found it shocking that he was happy to have an exhibition money game against Tiger at the same time in the same country, and not play in the real tournament that week.

    It sends a really bad message, and I think he has been poorly advised there.

  • Comment number 7.

    What exactly does K.Bradley plan to take legal action against? Do the USGA and R&A not reserve the right to change their rules?

  • Comment number 8.

    Secondly -

    GET RID OF ALL LONG PUTTERS - its called the short stick for a reason.

    Braddley et al should learn how to do it the proper way.

    From a spectator point of view it looks absolutely awful

  • Comment number 9.

    Does anybody know what percentage of players on tour are using the belly/long putter ?

  • Comment number 10.

    I cannot see how the use of the long putter can be banned. Surely 40 years of precedence will go a long way in what will be inevitable court cases. The lawyers will be rubbing their hands and massaging their wallets at the very prospect of a ban. A change in the rules regarding anchorage points IS in effect a ban on the putter. The only logical legal change i can see is a ruling NOT allowing them to be used to gain extra relief when measuring 1 or 2 club lengths.

  • Comment number 11.

    If the tours are not allowed to "ban" belly putters, maybe they could put in a clause saying that a player can only carry a number of clubs over a certain lenghth(possibly 38") so this would then mean the player would only have a driver and putter,but would struggle to carry any woods or hybrids,thus making the par 5's harder for them.

    Personnelly I hope the tours do Ban all types of belly/long putter,and while they are at it reduce the size of the clubhead on woods and lets see who really can play golf

  • Comment number 12.

    With the belly putter thing raising its ugly head once again i look forward to seeing someone put forward a reasonable, coherant and articulate argument as to why they should be banned. Teni-purist has already tried and sadly in my view failed miserably.

    I find it quite interesting that player power, brought about by the vast sums of money now on offer to the top players, is being viewed as potentially detrimental. For lord knows how long its been Tiger Woods is good for golf because he has brought more money into the game (like it was ever really needed) now perhaps we are seeing the first potential downsides of the vast influx of money.

    That said, the players should of course have the right to choose their own schedules and play where and when they want, anyone who feels that they somehow have the right to see the players play where they personally want them too has perhaps a rather inflated sense of self importance.

  • Comment number 13.

    @10 wcihis

    Does this mean that football is not allowed substitutes or that there is "no offside".

    Does it also mean i can tell the HSE were to go and stick there rules and regulations at work,after all Mr Bradley is threatining to sue for loss of earnings,maybe i should go and sue the last few governments and the E.U and while I'm at it anybody who doesn't agree with me !!!!!!!

    Mr Bradley and the rest will have to come to terms with any new ruling and do what most of us do in normal life and get used to it !!!!!

  • Comment number 14.

    Sportsmen and women make huge amounts of money in all major sports, but unlike other sports there are too many "blazers" still with positions of influence in both the R&A and PGA. Get rid of these dinosaurs and install strong businessmen, establish one set of worldwide rules and make it clear that if you enter the championship you cannot pick and choose which events to attend.

    As far as broomhandle putters, from a personal point of view I would like to see them banned. If long handle putters were excluded then how would this be different from the bans on driver face technology, wedge grooves etc., enforced in recent years.

    I can't see what precedent makes Bradley think he could win this one. Imagine the chaos if he did win, players could then object to anything they did'nt like including the rules relating to bunkers, divots, greens and any other aspect of the game.

  • Comment number 15.

    A rather strange and bizarre rant by Mania there. How do you come up with comparing a potential ban on the use of a putter that has been available and used for the last 40 years to football substitutes and the HSE. Are you proposing wiping the records like they have with Lance Armstrong if they are banned.
    There are far more important game improvements to be considered for rule changes in 2015 than these putters. ie. relief from a sand filled divot on a fairway and repairing spike marks on greens to name but two.

  • Comment number 16.

    A regular short putter is not anchored to any pat of the body, it is held in the hands. The longer putters are anchored against some part of the body, IMO making the pendulum like putting motion more consistent. A ban on anchoring points should not affect regular putters.

  • Comment number 17.

    Well done Ian Poulter...the man is class.
    I see Westwood choked his socks off AGAIN at the weekend. To follow a 61 up with a 72 is shocking. The guy must be a bag of nerves come Sundays. He wont win on the PGA tour in 2013 thats for sure.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with no16, at no point should the club be anchored to the body, it has obvious advantageous merit that will ensure the club head is more stable through the stroke thus mainly ruling out any adverse 'twitch' of the hands.
    A major move to ban these putters should have been implemented long ago IMO they mock the art of putting.
    I cannot believe Bradley having prospered hugely from the game would consider taking the sports governing body to court, do we really need this in golf?

  • Comment number 19.

    'To follow a 61 up with a 72 is shocking'

    Westwood 27,988,771 euros on the European Tour, and he's a choker ROFL!
    Some people just cannot get their head around other peoples talent and success! :D
    http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/players/playerid=9486/record/index.html

  • Comment number 20.

    @Mark...my point exactly...on the European tour.
    Once the guy hits the big time against world class fields he bottles it every time.
    2 wins on the PGA tour in 20 years! 0 majors...that says it all.

    He's a small ball player...he can win in SA or Asia when no one is playing but stick him in a world event and poop goes the weasel.

  • Comment number 21.

    I used to deride footballers and how they earn huge money even if they have a 'stinker' or are injured - no such luxury for the pro golfer, I used to argue - their earnings are down to THEIR ability alone. Well in reading this, I feel so disappointed; are these players there to earn yet more millions or to win titles ? It comes down to honour and intergity - which incidentally Westwood has - choosing to support his home tour for the past 20 years rather than scuttling off to Florida at the first sign of success a la Rose and Poulter - sorry but Westwood is beyond criticism. He is worth £40m but is still hungry for titles - seem that Mr McIlroy sells himself to the highest bidder - woeful Rory - woeful.

  • Comment number 22.

    This blog is about 12 years too late.

    Tiger Woods has had this sort of power over the tour all century, and golf happily accepted it. Now other golfers are trying to wield power, suddenly there's a blog written criticising it?

    Golf has always been run by toffs, which allows the top players to do what they want. In other sports the competitors have to work hard all year, in contrast Golfers can continue earning a cosy living based on what they've done in the past.

    Until the elitist style of Golf changes, this player power will continue. We're seeing similar things in football, players can earn high wages without performing and this makes them invincible.

  • Comment number 23.

    jamesmatthew - what's your problem with Lee Westwood my friend ? One of the greatest golfers of the Tiger Woods era :- been World Number One.... Europe's Top Golfer Twice... Was in the World Top 10 in 2000 AND still is now 12 years later !!(albeit with a dreadful slip dwon the rankings 02-04).... one of Europe's highest points scorer in the Ryder Cup - which incidentally, most golfers (Love III among them) say is far more pressurised than contending for a Major - which in fact brings me on to the main stick that people like you seem to beat Lee with - he's never won a Major ! Well, this is a non-argument - are you saying that because Hamilton, Curtis, Beem to name but three have won majors they are better golfers than Westwood and able to handle pressure better ?? Utter UTTER nonsense. You seem to have a personal vendetta against the man, but it's based on illogical comments. Move on.

  • Comment number 24.

    Im shocked at all the criticism Mcilroy is getting here. Now, not ignoring the fact he is getting a huge pay check for his battle vs woods - it was something the fans wanted to see over there no? They were using camera's, talking, woods n mcilroy were more sociable - surely that is a good advert for golf in the emerging eastern market?

    If woods and mcilroy, the two best golfers in the game by merit, decide they can ignore a WGC event then for me it says more about the quality of that event.

    I do like watching birdies flying in, but courses that 61 can be shot on should not be a WGC event in my opinion. And I am sure such low scores have been shot in other such events, but its not as if they missed the open or Augusta. The event in question was a money spinner anyway, on an average course that was trying to promote the game in the east.

    Well IMO I think the woods v mcilroy match would have drummed up more of a buzz for the game of golf than the tournament poulter so execllently won - AND it will have cost less!

  • Comment number 25.

    Never mind about promoting the game in 'the east' it's about time it was 'promoted' in its home - Britain ! Similar to the Premier League 39th game, and other such sutpidities, the rulers of sport are interested in one thing and one thing only - making more money for the sport and themselves and first class travel at 'the sport's expense' (look at FIFA for another example). I forsee a situation in 10 years where there is one tournament in these isles (The Open!) and 90% of the othjer tourneys are played in the middle east and the far east. Wonderful for the R&A and maybe even the players....but dreadful news for the loyal and passionate supporters of golf in Western Europe. In ten years, the closest people will get to watching live golf will be, paying Rupert Murdoch to watch it on a 3D channel - hey it's ALMOST like being there dude ! Still, so long as the players are getting even wealthier, eh ?

  • Comment number 26.

    @21 The reason Westwood stayed in Europe to "support" the home tour was simply because he was a big fish in a small pond and he knew if he moved to the US he may never win again. So he stayed for the money so he could clean up on a weaker tour.

  • Comment number 27.

    Actually James - speaking as someone who has 'connections' to Team Westwood, I can tell you that that is UTTER drivel; he is a family man, and puts that ahead of flying around America playing target golf. And before you say , well he's off to America now - his children are now old enough to make the move, and by Lee's own admission, a move to America should improve his prospects of the Major that would, I am sure, put him top of your Christmas card list ! You don't become World Number One by fluke (though as MANY have shown, winning one major CAN be achieved with luck)....you don't earn £28m without having talent to spare, and bottle. Your arguments are weak.

  • Comment number 28.

    @Breadman

    Why shouldnt the players (Mcilroy inparticular as you cited him but all players generally) do all they can to maximise their earnings?
    Why shouldnt the likes of Rose and Poulter move their lives to America to play on a more lucrative and more competitive tour?
    Why do you think trying to earn lots of cash, and winning titles are mutually exclusive? (I personally think you will most likely find that those that win the most titles earn the most money, on and off course)

  • Comment number 29.

    @ 25

    Breadman - I understand what you're saying and on one point I totally agree that we should have more events on the British Isles. We have some of the most amazing golf courses in the world and we are all lucky enough to be able to play them if we have fat enough wallets - but certainly the chance to save up and play the likes of st andrews, troon, wentworth, carnoustie, portrush, as well as some of my favourite courses which are on the north east coast of england and the west coast of scotland.

    However, the sad fact is that someone has to pay for the events and the prize money etc, and sponsors who are investing want a return. Hence the pulling of tour events in spain this year because the sponsors arent going to get a return on their investment.

    I don't think 90% of tournaments will be in the middle east, but I would say up to 50% may be - but I think the health of the Euro Tour means we have to expand to try and compete with the US PGA to get our players back ! And the only we can do that is with prestigious tournaments - which the east won't have because they are all new so don't have the history - so the only enticement is money

    You get Westwood who plays tournaments on the Euro tour and all he gets is abuse from the likes of james matthew calling him a choker - then the same sort of people will bemoan the fact the Euro Tour is faltering behind the PGA

    The players have to stick together, but money talks, and its probably the most affluent time in golf ever, and the players want to get their hands on some to protect their own lives and that of their families - which I have no issues about, because its no different to any other person on here being offered a new job with triple the salary - very rarely would that offer be turned down so I find it hypocritical of people judging these golfers because they are taking the chances that we wish we all had.

  • Comment number 30.

    In defence of the players, the European tour is now global and the season is effectively 12 months long. To avoid burnout and to be with their families players need time to recover from jetlag, adjusting to different time zones, physical tiredness. I see their action more to prolong their careers rather than cocking a snook at promoters or as Ian Carter less than delicately puts it 'the blazer brigade' I think he meant the Administrators.

  • Comment number 31.

    @Breadman - I think you have a slightly biased point of view on Lee.
    From a non biased prospective its obvious Lee stayed in Europe because it was comfortable and easier for him to win events as the quality of the field was far weaker then that in the US tour.

    As for Lee making it to number one...he did this by getting a large number of wins in on lesser tours. For example he made it to number one in 2011 and he got there by winning 3 events in Indonesia, 1 in Thailand and 2 in South Africa between 2010-2011.

    The guy is a fantastic golfer but he was never world number one...he found a back door to achieving that and now that he has joined the big boys like McIlory on the PGA tour I fear he may never win again.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ahhh ... good to be back

    #12 Jimmy, I'm not sure TeniPurist put forward was trying to "put forward a reasonable, coherant and articulate argument" - More like an emotional outpouring - not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm afraid my main crticism of belly and broom-handle putters is "I don't really like the look of them" and, to be honest, any argument I had against them would be just an attempt try and back up my prejudice.

    Regarding your third paragraph, I think it's probably the sponsors who have more of a right to feel aggrieved at the non-appearance of the top players. In tennis, the "Masters" events used to be compulsory for the top players (I'm not sure if they still are) unless you had a sick note/photograph of amputated limb/other legitimate excuse.

  • Comment number 33.

    james - no i think YOU have the slightly biased view on Westwood, and judging by other comments I have read from you about him, I can only assume that he must have failed to sign a ball for you at the 1998 Channel Islands Open....and you just can't let it lie. Anyway, I am sure your comment about finding a 'back door' to World Number One status has got most of us laughing on here. You're good for a laugh James, I'll say that much.

  • Comment number 34.

    With regards to the long putters, did anyone else see that Tianlang Guan used a belly putter to win the Asia Pacific Amateur?? If a 14 year old Chinese wonderkid is using one and perhaps has never used a regular length putter, surely he has the most to lose if they are banned. I am also sure the manufacturers will want compensation if they are banned

  • Comment number 35.

    How about a rule saying only 2 points of contact are allowed? They could then continue to use the belly butter .... but would have to control it with just one hand.

  • Comment number 36.

    'Once the guy hits the big time against world class fields he bottles it every time.
    2 wins on the PGA tour in 20 years! 0 majors...that says it all.

    He's a small ball player...he can win in SA or Asia when no one is playing but stick him in a world event and poop goes the weasel.'

    Lee Westwood is one of the finest players tee to green in the world, he doesn't need to prove anything to anyone in the US, and the reason he does not need to is because he is by far a much better player than 99.9% of them.
    Common sense dictates that a player who is currently in the top 5 in the world (and has been for a months/years) is a big fish in ANY pond, and is on consistency, skill and mental ability, in another sphere to the majority of his peers, USPGA very much included.
    A player who wins twice on the USPGA is a seriously good one, a player who wins 2 on the USPGA and 22 on the European tour is an exceptional player.

  • Comment number 37.

    Blog on !!

    The R&A / USGA are the law makers of the game. Therefore if they say that "long" putters are modified / banned for whatever reason they cite, then the players - if they want to play the game of golf - will have to live with that. I personally believe that you shouldn't be allowed to anchor to the club to any part of your body (chin, stomach, arm etc). Though I agree with WCIHIS. Why has this suddenly become a "hot" issue ? The long putters have been around for years and if they were that good most pros would be using them.

    A tour player is free to choose his / her own schedule. We should they be derided for missing a tournament ? eg some of the American players don't wish to come to The Open. Are they missed ? I agree that having the world nos. 1 & 2 in your tournament boosts it up but that only increases the coffers of the Sponsors / Media.

    The problem lies in the fact that there isn't a "world" body running golf with 1 tour. The ET and the PGA won't come together to support this. So the the tour with the least financial clout (ET) has to find other markets. ie Asia.

  • Comment number 38.

    #33. Firstly thank you for your compliments. I do try.
    Secondly a lot of people agree with my argument. People that have followed golf all their lives like myself have seen all the number ones come and go and up until the Luke/Lee era all the number ones had something in common....they could perform on the big stage...and they had all proved this by winning at least one major.

    Then came Luke & Lee ... Lee as we know got there by winning enough of these minor events that they added up his WR points significantly and he made no.1.
    Luke on the other hand made number one through consistency. Making top 10s week in week out. But we all know someone that makes top 10s is someone who cant handle the big time and stays in that safe zone of top 10 while rarely winning.

    However thankfully we are past that black stain on golf and we finally have a real number one people look up to and players fear because they know he can win at the top level.

  • Comment number 39.

    If belly putters are the answer to all putting problems (& so easy to use), why doesn't everybody use them?

  • Comment number 40.

    If administrators want to create any tournament they want then it's hardly player power not to play in it? If a player ducks one of the 4 majors, assuming prizemoney adequate to status accepting it won't be some Fedex jamboree, to play an exhibition then issue otherwise no issue.

    WGC I assume is another example of administrators sticking world on something like it means anything.

    This tiresome journo angle let's accuse leading players of arrogance (seriously what do you expect) from some high handed moral mole hill is laughable.

    Tell us about the golf. Why X won what's wrong with Y's game.

  • Comment number 41.

    @Mark Lee is better then 99.9% of he players on the PGA tour? :-) and 2 wins in 20 years is hardly a resume that shows he was a big fish in a big pond.
    I think your just trying to wind us up.

  • Comment number 42.

    Didnt Luuuuke and Lees ascention to number one also coincide with the unfortunate demise of The Tiger. Would they have gained that lofty height had he been still playing to the best of his abilities. However they achieved number one is irrelevant, it will always say on their CVs that they were number one. The battle for the next few years at number one will now between two great golfers. If they want to remain number one their schedules will have to relect the tournaments with the ranking points. Wherever they may be in the world.

  • Comment number 43.

    #41 "I think your (sic) just trying to wind us up"

    That is the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black. jm, we know you are a troll - It would be interesting to know your actual opinions rather than your comedy stuff but you won't do that as that would blow your cover. Still, you can be amusing sometimes

  • Comment number 44.

    I absolutely love the European Tour, but I can completely understand why the likes of Peter Hanson want to play on the US circuit. Example - January 2012. The US PGA tour boasts a monthly prize purse of 17,731,492 EURO this month with the 4 winners taking a slice of
    3,279,154 EURO of that. That works out an average of 819,788 EURO each.

    Compare that with the european tour. The total January prize purse available was 6,382,495 EURO, with winners taking a total of 1,061,574 EURO. Approximately 265,393 EURO each (average).

    The riches of america are too great to be ignored.

    It's like hoping a championship player stays loyal to the championship and dont go to a premier league club.

    Players have their own agenda's/lives so I think its wrong to judge a player for moving to the US tour. If I was offered a job with a chance of making 350,000 euro at the end of the year, and I got another offer for the same job with a different company offering the chance to make just short of 1,000,000 EURO a year, I'd back myself and believe I could make the 1,000,000. Same with our European golfers. Why shouldnt they compete with the worlds best week in week out?

  • Comment number 45.

    '@Mark Lee is better then 99.9% of he players on the PGA tour? :-) and 2 wins in 20 years is hardly a resume that shows he was a big fish in a big pond.
    I think your just trying to wind us up'

    If as you say he has played all his golf in Europe and he's still won twice on the PGA tour, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see your argument is seriously flawed?
    You stick to your armchair and media soundbites, people who understand golf understand Lee Westwood's achievements.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Real Jimmy -

    Golf is a game of skill, hand eye coordination in fact. It requires a greaaaat deal of hand eye coordination and applied practice in order to master.

    Putting is a part of the hand eye coordination required to be a good golfer. It is different to the normal shots as the normal shots obviously involve much more speed and power, whereas in putting you need great control over a much less dynamic motion.

    it is HAND EYE coordination : golf is played with the hands!

    For all the pedants out there, I am aware that a golf swing involves not only hands and arms, but the main power comes from shoulders and the trunk, etc, but the fact of the matter remains that you are holding the clubs with your hands.

    Using the belly putter introduces the focal point and it means you are using other parts of your body to improve your hand eye coordination in that instance, in an attempt to have a more regular swing / contact.

    Its obviously an "unfair advantage" mechanically, even though many of the world's best don't want to change because a) they are good enough doing it the proper way b) it involves learning a whole new method

    But, it is still unfair AND, it looks horrible.

    I remember the first time I watched Adam Scott play. Beautiful elegant golfer.....

    then I saw him approach a putt.

    Just looks wrong, I personally could never support or root for a player using a belly putter (or any other long form of putter).



    !

  • Comment number 47.

    Its amusing to see people still defending Westwood's ability under pressure.I was on here 2 years ago,telling anybody that would listen that Westwood is the biggest choker in golf,2 years later i don't think anything has changed.However i have now grown to feel a little sorry for him and hope he wins one before his career ends. Nobody is questioning that he doesn't have talent he just lacks bottle.I also said at the time that Poulter would be first English player to break their long wait and i still believe this.I also got ridiculed for suggesting that Woods would get back to top of the rankings,maybe now all ye english people can understand the saying "form is temperory,class is permanent". English golfers are well repesented in the rankings however this is only half the story. Only 2 are capable of winning something important Poulter and Rose,with the second also having huge question marks on the bottle front!

    Good Article by the way,I was amazed to see Rory and Tiger skip the weekend, Tiger has always done his own thing but maybe this is subconciously Rory's way of showing the world that he now considers himself on a different level than the rest aswell.

  • Comment number 48.

    @Mark "If as you say he has played all his golf in Europe and he's still won twice on the PGA tour, then it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see your argument is seriously flawed?"

    I think your lack of knowledge in golf is showing here. When someone is a member of the European tour he does not play exclusively on that tour. In the last 20 years Lee has played on average 10 events a year in the US...so that's 200 tournaments with 2 wins.
    I think my argument is pretty air tight.

    Why are people so sensitive when I simply point out facts about Lee. The guy has played 80 majors in his life and won none...he has never won an event that boasted all the top players in the world. Never won a world championship yet has won multiple times in Asia.

    It doesn't take Einstein to see that he is not good enough for the big time but is a fantastic golfer all the same esp. on the minor tours.

  • Comment number 49.

    @tiger9991 ...finally someone with an unbiased view of Westwood. Thank you.

  • Comment number 50.

    dont get the arguement about rory and tiger missing the WGC, Its is just another tournament.. dd Jack and Arne play every tournament world wide, no they only left teh USA to play The Open and maybe a world matchplay.. they didnt play every week on the US tour, its an old story... as for rory and tiger playing a one off match,, well that lasted one day a WGC lasts the whole week, they have been playng rght through the playoffs McIlroy needs to rest up for the Race fnals, t s impossible to play all round the world every week for six days( two of practice) . ths is a non arguement. as for Keegan Bradley.. stop crying and learn to putt.. These putters DO have an advantage.. just look how t has transformed the chokers and yippers. Look at Adam Scott and Bernard Langer , VJ, whos puttng has mproved agan snce then went to use the long stick. It anchors the club, takes the pressure off END OF.. ban it..

  • Comment number 51.

    It seems such a long time ago since the last blog - and yet JM has proved it was only like yesterday. Same topic same 'interesting' view points. My we are privileged to be in the company of such... predictability. Still - here goes:
    A few observations... agreed Westwood was in a great position come the final round yet Oosthuizen was in exactly the same position yet you haven't mentioned him nor what a 'choker' he is?
    So LW followed up his 61 with a 72 and Snedeker followed up his 60 with a 71... both rubbish aren't they?
    Bit of a theme here JM...
    Lee and Luke got to World no.1 just by being consistent/beat average fields/not winning majors etc etc. Now I may get proven (technically) wrong here but hasn't Tiger got to no.2 doing almost the same? He's nowhere near winning a major and whilst I think he won 3 times on the USPGA, were they really world class fields?
    Feel free to put me straight James once you've got over the clear instance of bullying/trauma in Worksop circa 1981...

  • Comment number 52.

    Oh and I'm going to see Motorhead/Anthrax tonight... I'm like a dog with 2 d***s today! \m/

  • Comment number 53.

    @ Tenipurist

    I will offer that for the most part your post was exactly what i was hoping to see and something that has been sorely lacking in the belly putter debate. The ending part is just purely a matter of taste and you must concede that it has absolutly no place in the rule making process, If it did then i would propose a ban on white headed drivers.

    My main problem with the rest of your argument is that it is based on a personal prejudice on how the game should be played. Of course golf is played with the hands. This is because its easier that standing on your hands and swinging the club with your feet, or any other method you care to think of. There is no historical doctrine, or rule that states that further pivot points shouldnt be introduced, or at least not that i could find, and i have looked for one.

    The belly putter is merely a continuation of the great tradition of innovation in the game of golf. Methods, techniques, and technology always have and always will change. I see no reason to artificially interfere with that, particularly where the decision impacts some severely, and others not at all. Now THAT is unfair

  • Comment number 54.

    My point is probably an overly simplistic one but I would have thought that players are free to decide when and where to play. I acknowledge the points about sponsors, spectators and TV but ultimately players need to have the right to determine their own schedules. Belly putters offend me as do rescue clubs but I am a grumpy old git.....

  • Comment number 55.

    @therealjimmy. i understand your point but all sports need to have certain restrictions to make sure the game doesn't mutate into something ridiculous.

    Max length of shaft or "max anchor points = 2" are surely simples rule to implement. Like max clubhead size was.

    Innovation comes from having to work within these simple and clearing defined restrictions, not from having a free-for-all. You cannot argue that until the broomhandle came along, every golf shot was hit holding the club with just two hands, or one if you are an amputee. That is surely a fundamental principle of the game that should never be altered. Otherwise we might find someone come up with a 4 or 5 point anchor system and use your argument too.

  • Comment number 56.

    Golf is now going down the same route as football 15 years ago.
    Money rules and will have the last say on any matter, regarding players and tournaments.
    Look at Man utd applying to miss the 3rd round of the FA cup to play in a money spinning match in Asia a few years back?
    Now being mirrored in golf.
    Old traditional tournaments will be pitted against celebrity duels with ridiculous prize money.
    Player power will start to dictate the calendar over the governing bodies, and the players have now become too famous/powerful to be knocked off their perch.

  • Comment number 57.

    Point -

    1/ Ban all 'Long Putters' - won't work - what if a very small golfer (not small minded like jamesmathew or tiger9991), used a regular length putter, but were able to anchor it in the belly, or under the chin? You would have to ban using a 'pivot point' as TheRealJimmy says above.

    2/ Anyone who reckons that Tiger has class is seriously lacking in judgement. He has as much class as John Terry, John Daly or Serena Williams.

    3/ Rory and the horrible Woods have a right to play where and when they want to, as long as it does not contravene any Tour's rules. However, that is not to say that they should do so. A case of Rory lacking maturity and commonsense, methinks - or ill-advised, maybe. Or maybe he needs a bob or two to keep CazWoz in jewellery?

    4/ Lee Westwood is a superb golfer - who is also a very poor putter - good mechanics but lacking in 'feel'. On the week he gets his putting boots on he WILL win his major. He is too good not to do so. Absolutely s*d all to do with bottle - he has proved he has the heart and desire over and over.

  • Comment number 58.

    #57 "On the week he gets his putting boots on he WILL win his major."

    How long are we going to hear that excuse. He manages to putt fantastic on thur-sat.
    Its called no bottle.

    I do hope he wins a major but I think Monty has as much chance at this rate.

  • Comment number 59.

    @cfc If you need it explained why Oosthuizen isn't a choker like Westwood you should follow a different sport.Maybe I was seeing things but was Tiger not in contention in 3 of the 4 majors this year going into the last day? He may not have won one but to say he is nowhere near is madness.

    @jamesmathew I echo your thoughts,the level of Lee loving here is staggering. Its refreshing to have someone else who can see the obvious for a change. Seeing you seem to have an understanding of what makes a good player who do you think to look out for next year? My predictions for top 5 in the world Nov 13 are as follows

    1. Rory Mcilroy
    2. Tiger Woods
    3. Justin Rose
    4. Luke Donald
    5. Sergio Garcia

    With T Olsen and Nick Watney to also have big seasons

  • Comment number 60.

    @55

    There should be restrictions within the laws of the game. However wherever possible they should be Pro-active rather than being introduced retrospectivly. This of course isnt always possible as administrators cannot be expected to predict technological improvements. But where is isnt possible swift action should be taken.

    I dont see how you can allow a type of club to be legal for over 30 years without even any indication that the club may be outlawed in future, allow some players to build their games around using this equipment from a very early stage without them having even the slightest inkling that mid career they will have this option removed.

    Besides as WCIHIS suggested there are far greater issues to resolve anyway. How about the fact that some fine, historical golf courses are coming closer and closer to being obsolete due to technology that ALL players use. Finding a way of restricting that, if possible would be a much better use of the R&A and USGA's time I believe

  • Comment number 61.

    @ cougarforest Why am I narrow minded? because i don't agree with you opinion. Oh yea and the last time i played golf i remember putting was included as part of the game or was I imagining this. Saying westwood is a superb golfer but a bad putter is another ridiculious statement. Whether Woods is a class human being has nothing to do with the argument. I don't care about his personal life the same way i'm pretty sure he doesn't care about mine.

  • Comment number 62.

    Westwood isn't a choker, he's just not a very good putter. And his general short game is not the greatest either. He will have the odd good day like last Saturday, though.

    The short game/putting is about 50-60% of the game. Westwood has got where he has through his long game, but I'm afraid he's just not good enough overall to be thought of as a great player.

  • Comment number 63.

    #59... thanks and I do. I follow pretty much all sports... golf isn't my specialist subject so I'll give you your say on Tiger. That said the majors are won after 72 holes so contending 'going into the last day' isn't nearly good enough which is what we are discussing here re. Westwood so you've kind of defeated your own argument. I don't think anyone here thougth Tiger was going to win any one of them given his recent form.
    Re Oosthuizen - he did exactly what Westwood did on the fourth day yet only one of them is a choker? Very insightful - I really must find a different sport...

  • Comment number 64.

    People who single out Rose and Poulter for critism for moving to the US are crazy,
    better tournaments, competition, prize money, coverage, sponsors, weather, everything !
    If I was Rory I wouldn't be staying loyal to my home continent. He'd get no recognision on here anyway, for winning those 'second rate' tournaments.
    Look at Pele, regulary dropped down the list of greatest ever footballers because
    'he never played in Europe' with the best?
    To be a legend golfer, you have to go across the pond and win consistantly over there, not be battling Peter Hanson in the ikea cup in Stockholm.

  • Comment number 65.

    #58, #59 - jm & tiger9991 - I'm assuming you're one and the same person, signed on under aliases. What a sweet love-in you've got going with yourself!

    #60 Jimmy, absolutely hit the nail on the head there. I don't like watching players putt with elongated putters, but that's just tough on me. It would be grossly unfair on those players who have been practicing using that method all there golfing lives. Perhaps the R&A & USPGA should ban belly putters from 2050 (except in seniors events) :-)

  • Comment number 66.

    My only concern with the Mclroy/Woods exhibition game is many players are now chasing the dollars rather then thinking long term about what they want to achieve in the game. It was always about Majors. And Woods has always been a major influence over the USPGA. After all, They allowed him to create his own tournament and it be incuded on the rosta so He could complete his 15 tournamnent quota to keep his place on the tour

  • Comment number 67.

    #59 tiger9991

    Yes I think too many people on this are blinded by patriotism or whatever else. What we have said is not knocking Lee its just pointing out his short comings.

    So ya I think 2013 will be dominated by Rory and Tiger...but that's obvious. Then I think Rose and Poulter will have some wins. I think Poulter has finally realised he is an amazing player and since he isn't getting any younger I have a feeling he might focus on the majors and win one. He certainly has what it takes and unlike Lee he has won 2 world events so he can beat the best.

    Regards your world rankings, I agree with your top 5 except switch Poulter with Garcia.

  • Comment number 68.

    Shame as before the trolls descended the blog and topic was very interesting.
    Unfortunately the usual suspects ruin the forum for everyone else, my apologies for getting involved in this drivel in the first place.

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 - Don't apologise, just don't do it again!

  • Comment number 70.

    I don't really get the criticism. These guys are professionals i.e. it's their job. Why shouldn't they be allowed to maximise their income in the relatively short period (compared to "normal2 jobs) where they're able to?

  • Comment number 71.

    @cfc granted Woods hasn't done it this season but he has in the past. Generally Oosthuizen is good under pressure anybody can have a bad day so you can't judge on one isolated tournment.

    @eightforsix because i happen to agree with somebody else on here we're one in the same person? Is this what you say to anybody on here that you disagree with? Offer an opinion about what i have said and people might take you seriously on here.

  • Comment number 72.

    Iain,
    Two points:
    1).It would help if the media took a stand and declined to offer the free publicity that you routinely offer the golfing galacticos. But no, and the BBC is as guilty/more guilty than anyone.
    2).Don't expect Els to join Bradley in any long-putter legal challenge, but Tim Clark and Carl Pettersson very well might. Consensus in the US media though is "good luck", the USGA and R&A make the rules and, unless there's a complete breakaway of the PGA Tour from those governing bodies, the belly putters don't have a leg to stand on. Expect some big-time grandafthering though.

  • Comment number 73.

    tiger9991 wrote - "@ cougarforest Why am I narrow minded? because i don't agree with you opinion"

    No tiger991, I consider you to be narrow minded because you possess a biased or illiberal viewpoint, and are prejudiced against Lee Westwood. I have read your posts before - asking questions like "is Westwood now the biggest bottler in world sport?" indicates that you have it in for him, for whatever reason.

    You also wrote - "Saying westwood is a superb golfer but a bad putter is another ridiculious statement."

    Why is that 'ridiculious' in your opinion? The man hits the ball as good as anyone ever has, but he can't match those standards in his putting. If he could putt like Poulter he would be formidable.

  • Comment number 74.

    @jm not sure poulter has the consistancy to make it into the top 5 but he will be quite near it and i do think a major is not far away for him. I have Garcia ahead of him because i believe he is very near turning his fortunes around. I like Garcia he has amazing ability and i think once he wins one major the floodgates will open. It would be great for golf if he could somehow compete with Woods and Mcilroy

    @Mark apoligies for getting off topic I see red when I see the Lee loving. I actually like him now in last few years so i regret the outright bashing I have given him in the past but fact are facts..

  • Comment number 75.

    Westwood is ranked 174 out of 190 on PAG tour in putting stats - which is awful.

    He doesn't even need to be a great putter - mcilroy is #80 and hes number 1 in the world

    if only lee was an average putter, like me, he could win a major. Im going to give him a ring and some free lessons .....

  • Comment number 76.

    On the long putter vs short putter argument, has anyone tried to use a long putter? It's fine for short putts but long putts are a nightmare. I do think that there should be some kind of ruling though when taking relief using 2 club lengths. Theoretically it would be legal to take out a 10ft putter just for using for these situations. Bearing in mind how often I hit the ball into bushes perhaps that wouldn't be such a bad idea. Now where's my welder......

  • Comment number 77.

    @ cougarforest - point taken I have been harsh in the past. At the time I thought him arrogant and i was also highly skeptical about the timing of his injuries etc, now I have changed my opinion on these points however i do still think he's a bottler. With regards to the putting I believe putting is a huge part of game so find it difficult to ignore it. Sergio Garcia has similar problems and as he is my favourite golfer I just hope he is young enough to sort this out and go on to great things.

  • Comment number 78.

    Iain,

    On the subject of player power I think the two main tours have to take a good deal of responsibility for what appears now to be a growth of player power.

    They each want to be staging a big money tournament almost every week for more and more money to empower their players and racing to find new locations and new sponsors to make the respective tours ever stronger and attractive as a brand. Consider Tiger playing the recent PGA Tour sponsored event in Malaysia which presumably the Tour themselves engineered and pushed for? It was essentially a low level event with a poor field whilst a far stronger field played in Shanghai. It suited Tim Finchem however to have Tiger there and Tiger didn't fancy playing the WGC which sits at a odd time in the calender. With so many tournaments there has to be a bit of give and take.

    If there were less tournaments and less huge money tournaments with ranking points then the top players would compete against each other more often and skip fewer of the big ones but that doesn't seem likely to happen.

  • Comment number 79.

    tiger9991 sorry I bracketed you with jamesmathew in my previous post - I can't agree about Lee being a bottler - I think you could go to the other extreme and say he tries too hard because he wants it so much. Must be difficult to have any feel in your putting fingers when you have a putt to tie for the Open.

    You and I will never be in that place (well I sure won't having had to give the game up), but I must say I like the look of Poulter and his way of relaxing the grip on the putter, he looks so comfortable. Putting is the key to the game, and the day I had 23 putts in a round I won a big one at my old club, and had my handicap slashed to 8.

    I feel sure that Westy has that sort of day in him - see last Saturday for example. He just needs it on a Sunday. Maybe I am just soft, but I like him, his attitude and his friendliness. I met him at the Forest of Arden when I was a Marshall (not the sort with a six shooter), and he was just a good bloke.

  • Comment number 80.

    How quickly has this blog gone completely off topic and ended up a pro/anti Lee Westwood argument. He is a great golfer who i suspect would be amused to read so many comments regarding his inability to close out big tournaments.
    What do people on here think about yet another 14 year old qualifying for a Major. Tianlang Guan will possible be at the Masters next year following in the footsteps of Andy Zhang at the US Open. Is it right that these boys are given a place denying a pro the place and potential earnings of that pro.

  • Comment number 81.

    Iain,

    On the subject of Keegan Bradley and the long putter I believe a straw poll at my golf club would suggest that 90% of the members feel that a win with a long putter is bad for golf and a lesser win for that. Excellent player though Bradley is putting is a huge part of the game and he hasn't proved he can cope without an artifical aid. It isn't playing the game correctly or fairly and I think the weapon should be banned. If he and Webb Simpson and others want to contest that in court let them do so surely the tours, with the backing of the majority are strong enought to fight it aren't they?

  • Comment number 82.

    @cougarforest I do genuinely hope he wins one and am proven wrong,I will happily come on here and eat humble pie if he does but I can't see it. On the argument of long putters surely Lee is one player that should try it ( maybe he has i don't know ). I know there is talk of them being banned but he only has a few years left anyway. If nothing else I would like to see him winning one just to see the look on Monty's face, I imagine it is the only thing that helps him sleep at night since Darren Clarke won one!

  • Comment number 83.

    #73 "You also wrote - "Saying Westwood is a superb golfer but a bad putter is another ridiculous statement." Why is that 'ridiculous' in your opinion?"

    That is a ridiculous opinion because putting is almost 50% of the golf game. A round of 72 consists of 36 putts and 36 strokes....even a round of 66 consists of 40% putting. So to say Lee is a "superb golfer" when he is only good at half the game...is a completely ridiculous statement. Sure he's a great striker of the ball...but he is far from a superb golfer. You have to be the full package to be a superb golfer and Lee I'm afraid is not.

  • Comment number 84.

    @84641

    To be honest with you, the idea of banning the putter isnt as silly as it originally sounds. It certainly circumnavigates the intrinsic unfairness of banning the belly putter with immediate effect at the next rule change.

    Of course i doubt that such a fair minded approach would ever be considered, but then i'd argue that it doesnt need to be anyway as things are fine just as they are.

  • Comment number 85.

    @tiger9991
    Apology accepted, and of course you are entitled to your opinion.
    I most certainly could not assume Westwood will win a major, I firmly believe he has the tools and quality to do so but whether the deck of cards falls for him, who knows??
    Top level golf is hugely competitive these days if a week goes well then any one of a large number of players are capable, which is what makes it so interesting.

  • Comment number 86.

    RE: #84

    I of course meant banning the belly putter in 2050 or some such far flung date

  • Comment number 87.

    @mark it is very competitive and they all are hugely talented which goes without saying, that is why I think being able to keep your nerve is so important. Anybody that cannot at least acknowlege this in my opinion doesn't understand the game that is the point I am constantly trying to make. I tipped Jason Day a couple of years ago to do well as he has all the ability in the world however he also struggles to close the deal. He is still young though and may turn it around however Westwood does not have this luxury. Who in your opinion will do well next year?

  • Comment number 88.

    If the R&A wants to ban the long putter because they think its an advantage, why don't they ban the short putter, after all this putter has won more tournaments than any long putter. Is this then more of an advantage !

  • Comment number 89.

    Long/belly putters not really a problem for me. Putting is essentially a confidence stroke, I don't believe the extra anchorage point gives the user a technical advantage, more improves confidence over the ball. I use a conventional putter btw and have never been tempted otherwise.

  • Comment number 90.

    #71... straws and clutching, my friend. You can't say Westwood is one thing and Woods and Oosthuizen are another when they have done/are doing the same thing.
    "Woods has done it in the past" is no argument for being World #2 off the back of a few top tens or beating weak fields. Be consistent with your arguments at least.
    You and JM seem a little too keen to go Westwood-bashing but when 'your' logic is applied to any other player you can't offer a reasonable defence.
    For what it's worth general concensus over a number of years on this blog is that anyone chosing to use the tag choker/bottler will get short thrift so chose your corner. Makes me laugh that you feel you can speak with such authority and wisdom... you almost made up for it with post 82 - almost.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ban the putters and let the likes of Bradley & co take legal action if they want. There is enough money in the game to justify a legal case, if that's what's needed, for the benefit of the game in the future. I don't see any grounds for them winning as the R&A/USGA would seem (to me) to be well within their rights to rule that anchoring is not making a legitimate stroke.

    And apart from anything else, does Adam Scott, an otherwise good looking marketable and talented player, not realise how stupid he looks with that broom handle?! Can you ever imagine Rory or Tiger using one, even if their putting got bad? No, me neither.

  • Comment number 92.

    cfc.

    Pardon me but aren't Woods and Oosthuizen major winners?

    My whole argument is based around LW not having the bottle to contend with the big boys on the big stage...and to date he has never done that so thats that argument air tight. Unless you can name a world championship or major that LW won because I fear you will come up short on that one my friend.

  • Comment number 93.

    Yup, good old hubris beckons for Rory if he prefers 'tennis' to golf. But...there's far too much money in golf. It's obscene the amount players can earn even by finishing 50th (that's why everyone is heading for the states). If the big players don't turn up, the sponsors won't continue to dig deep, the prize money will go down, and we shall be left with a saner world. Or is that cloud cuckoo land? Discuss.

  • Comment number 94.

    I find it utterly bewildering that players are considering legal action against a rule change and I sincerely hope whichever court hears the case sends them packing. If the R&A and USPGA decide, after careful deliberation, that a ban on belly putters is required then they should suck it up and deal with it. They're supposed to be professionals!!

    F1 change the rules every season, but do you see any drivers taking legal action against the ban on exhaust blown diffusers?? Not quite the same I know, but my point is that ruling bodies of sport should be allowed to make changes to the rules that they believe will benefit the game. It's should NOT be for the players and competitors themselves to decide what should or should not be changed, no matter how fat their wallets are! They are rich beyond most people's wildest dreams and get to travel the world, PLAYING A GAME as their job...they owe the game big time and should remember that before going crying to their lawyers.

    Why have a huge number of pros changed to the belly putter in the first place? Because it makes putting easier! With the advancements in ball and club technology allowing todays players to hit the ball ridiculous distances, it is even more important that the difficulty of coaxing the ball into the hole with the SHORT stick is maintained more than ever.

    Keegan Bradley needs to man up.

  • Comment number 95.

    To be honest Iain, I agree with the sentiment of your piece and am a frequent admirer of your contributions on the blog front, but I feel this piece is naive in the extreme.

    There are two fundamentally flawed suggestions in your piece. Firstly that golf would be in any way unusual to allow the competitors to ignore the established sporting calendar.

    "In most other sports the athletes fit around the game's calendar".

    In tennis there are a myriad of regulations to supposedly stop big name players skipping tournaments and therefore devalue events. However all a player needs to do, and they frequently do, is produce a doctor's note and the event can be skipped. In football, bigger teams show disregard for events the regard as worth less than their primary targets and field deliberately under-strength teams. If they win, the match was a good development exercise, if they lose, they don't care. Don't even get me started on the seemingly annual postponement of US sports calendars due to the latest fall out over wage demands etc.

    The second error in your piece is the repeated inference that such a change in authority in golf to one where the big names hold the power is something new. I just can't get on board with this. For the best part of 50 years now the ranking of events outside the Majors has almost solely dictated by the prize find on offer. The TPC, Fed-Ex Cup, Race To Dubai, WGC's are the major targets for players because they're the most lucrative. The prize fund on offer is dictated by the sponsorship generated. The sponsorship generated is manifestly influenced by the strength of the line up. Let's be realistic here, no-one stumps up $3-5m for a prize fund at an event they haven't had at the very least some encouraging nods that several of the game's top players will attend.

    So whilst it may seem that the calendar is announced and the players must then work out where they attend. In reality, that calendar is the product of months and years of planning based around making sure it suits the top players.

    As for players influencing the rules on equipment, such as the Keegan Bradley example. Can anyone show me a technological advancement (such as metal woods, carbon fibre shafts, long putters etc) that haven't ultimately become legal simply because the game became flooded with them.

    Belly putters should be made illegal, and may very well be. But if that happens that will be nothing to with with player power versus USPGA/R&A power. It will be simply a reflection that not enough big names use them. I guarantee you if Woods and Donald started using belly putters, this argument would be over!

    Just to re-iterate, I'm a big fan of your work Mr Carter and agree with the sentiment you're getting across. But I think you're years behind reality here.

  • Comment number 96.

    @33 Breadman

    I'm very sorry but i have to disagree with you about the 98 Channel Island Open and JM not getting his ball signed, as IMHO i don't even think the boy was born, even for me that is a little harsh to blame him :-)

  • Comment number 97.

    As a fan of Westwood I first started reading this blog and thought that one or two were being unfair and were Westwood bashing. It has to be said though, can he really be a GREAT player with such a poor short game? It's a scratch golfer's at best and that's simply not good enough. But I doubt Lee needs anyone to tell him that. And it has to be said that his record in the States is very poor (remember he relied on others bottling the 18th for his USPGA Tour wins). Of all the other world #1s I can't remember another one that has such an obvious weakness in his game. No doubt though that he has been the world's best ball striker for the last 7-8 years. I don't think he's a choker or has ever really been the best player in the world. I do hope that he wins one though. The truth lies in between the extreme viewpoints that some of you seem to have.

  • Comment number 98.

    Given Rory has joined the same management company as Tiger it is not surprising that they are seeking to use Rory's global popularity to help repair Woods' marketability - even if it is at the expense of the WGC events. I would ban them from the next WGC event.

  • Comment number 99.

    @cfc I am being consistant Woods has being the best player on the planet for much of the last 15 years. By anybody elses standards he's after an exceptional year and in my view is improving rapidly back to near his best.He may not have won a major this year but you can't call him a choker because he hasn't finished it off. His game is still letting him down on occasion and I'm sure he is feeling a bit of pressure but I'd bet my life on the fact its only a matter of time. Oosthuizen has one in the bag already and i think he is another player who will win more. He would have a masters in the bag now aswell only for a miracle shot from Watson which happens.I talk about Westwood because he is the most glaring example of what i see but there are many others aswell, I just don't understand the blind ignoring of the facts when it comes to him. I will write whatever I want on here and if deemed inappropriate by the mediators fair enough I couldn't care less what you think. I have my opinion on Westwood and I will always say what i think. I am open to other people's opinion and if they make a valid point i will take it on board. From what I can see on here the general consensus is agree with public opinion or be abused. Granted our discussion is off topic but I'm sure if it upsets people too much they can ignore what i say.

  • Comment number 100.

    @StevenR glad to see a bit of common since and that at least some people can see some logic in what is being said. Watch out though you could get accused of being yet another ailias of mine!!!

 

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