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Padraig Harrington says anchored putting should be banned (but he's still using a belly putter)

HarringtonAdd Padraig Harrington’s name to the lengthening list of Tour pros who oppose long putters.

But while you’re at it, also toss him in among the growing ranks of players who have turned to an anchored putting stroke in tournament play.

In a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do moment this week at Quail Hollow Golf Club, Harrington, 41, voiced his opposition to the controversial putting method, which may be outlawed in a matter of weeks by the USGA and R&A if a proposed ban on it goes through.

Harrington said he hopes that happens.

“For the game, I definitely don’t agree with anchoring at all,” he said.

Funny thing was, he’d just wrapped up his opening round at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he used an anchored stroke for the first time in competition.

“I think it’s bad for the game of golf,” Harrington said. “[But] I’m going to use everything, if something’s going to help me for the next three and a half years, I’m going to use it.”

Harrington’s comments echoed those of Ernie Els last year after Els won the British Open with the aid of a belly putter.

“Nothing should be anchored to your body and I still believe that,” Els said. “But as long as it’s legal, I will keep cheating like the rest of them.”

Late last fall, the USGA and R&A issued a joint proposal to ban anchored strokes. The organizations are expected to come to a final decision on the matter this summer, though the ban, if approved, would not go into effect until 2016.

So whatever happens, Harrington will have plenty of time to perfect his anchored stroke and his rationalization for using it.

For now, it seems, he needs work on the former.

In Thursday’s opening round, Harrington shot 80, with 32 putts. On Friday, he shot a 75 and missed the cut.
(Photo: Nell Redmond/AP)

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by Kevin Cunningham