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PGA Tour Confidential: Adam Scott wins first Australian Masters

Adam Scott
Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Adam Scott, who uses an anchored putter, won his first Australian Masters on Sunday.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

SWING VOTERS
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: This week, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Brandt Snedeker all spoke in favor of a ban on "anchored" putters (i.e., long putters and belly putters), joining other long-putter-ban supporters like Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer. On the other side, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley oppose a ban. The question: If PGA Tour players voted on this issue, what would the result be? Do your best Nate Silver impersonation and predict the voting breakdown.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Only Karl Rove knows for sure, but I think a vote would be very close. On the one hand, anchoring would seem to be against the spirit, if not the actual rules, of the game. On the other, the USGA ruled in favor of anchoring decades ago. Why reverse that decision now? Because anchoring is beginning to catch on with the public? Illogical.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Majority rules. They'd vote to ban. But it will get settled on the committee level. Can't leave it to chance.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: That's way too much math, but I think a vote on Tour would be 70 in favor of the ban and 30 against. Even guys who have used it as a last resort have said it seems like cheating and should be illegal. (Exhibit A: Ernie Els.)

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: I think they'd be banned in a landslide. For one thing, golf is lousy with purists. More practically, the vast majority of players still don't use them, so you'd have to assume they'd want to take anchored putters out of the competition's hands - and guts.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: I bet players would vote to ban it, but I'd pay to see Tiger debate Phil on the issue. Talk about a great silly season event!

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I thought it was interesting that G-Mac said Mike Davis told him they had "evidence" that belly putters were an advantage. If there's empirical evidence on that subject out there, where did it come from? No one's heard about it before this. Still, it's at least 60-40 against on tour. I'd like to see a vote on the Champions Tour.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: I think it's about 75% to 25% in favor of a ban. There are valid arguments on both sides, but golf has more traditionalists than progressives.

Jessica Marksbury, associate editor, Golf Magazine: According to the 2012 Tour Confidential surveys, out of the 70 players we talked to on the PGA Tour, 28 said long putters should be banned, 36 said no, and 6 were undecided. On the Champions Tour, 38 said ban, 29 said no, and 3 were undecided. Pretty interesting! I wonder how opinions will change this year.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I have to figure there are more players still using standard-length putters, so I'm going to put it at 64% to 36%. The ban supporters would have their mandate, and I'd be interested to see if the proponents of long putters fight this thing in court. Should be fun.

Herre: I don't see this ever going to court.

Godich: Agreed, but it sure would be fun listening to lawyers trying to explain the technical aspects.

Van Sickle: I don't see a court case, but I could see players pushing the PGA Tour to create its own rules and get out from under the USGA. That would really be interesting.

Walker: I'm not sure the golfing public cares much one way or the other. The only place I ever see long putters is at Tour events.

Godich: I'll also be interested to see how the equipment manufacturers weigh in. They've got no small investment in this.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Would PGA Tour players vote to ban the belly putter?

ADAM SCOTT WINS
Walker: Speaking of long putters, Adam Scott won his first Australian Masters on Sunday. Where does he now rank on your list of Best Players Without a Major?

Herre: At or near the top. Scott is one of the best ballstrikers of his generation, but one-dimensional. Sort of an earlier version of Dustin Johnson.

Van Sickle: Adam doesn't rank as high as you might think, although I have to move him ahead of Sergio Garcia these days. Donald and Westwood are still a solid 1-2 punch. After that, it's up for grabs. Scott would be a contender for third. I'll wait for the BCS rankings first.

Reiterman: He has to be No. 1, even ahead of Westwood. Scott's won at least one professional event for the last 12 years, and he's picked off more big-name trophies than Westy. (I've heard Scott's caddie is pretty good, too.)

Van Sickle: I disagree. Westwood has had more opportunities to win majors than Scott, and he's won way more tournaments than Scott ever has. Whether you define Best Player Without a Major by how he's playing at the moment or by his entire career, Westwood ranks ahead of Scott. So does Donald.

Godich: Scott's not yet near Westwood and Monty's league, but give him time. And take that broomstick out of his hands ...

Dusek: Adam Scott is fourth, behind Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. If it weren't for a brain-dead moment on 18 at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in July, Scott would already have one.

Van Sickle: If Scott didn't rank 143rd in putting, he might already have a major, no matter the state of his brain.

Reiterman: Watching Scott smash drivers all weekend at Kingston Heath made his 3-wood-on-18 decision at the Open all the more baffling.

Wei: So many good players don't have a major -- Westwood, Luke, Sergio, etc. I'm thinking top five.

Hanger: I'd put him just behind Steve Stricker, tied with Luke Donald, and just ahead of Lee Westwood.

Godich: Hate to say it, but you have to wonder if Scott's opportunity passed at the 2011 Masters. Charl Schwartzel basically stole the green jacket from him. Say what you want about having plenty more opportunities, but the stars were aligned for Scott -- until Charl closed with those four birdies.

Reiterman: Ernie Els won a major this year, so Scott still has plenty of time. (Of course Scott was a big reason why Els won, so ... well, you get the point.)

Van Sickle: Good point. Although I wonder if Ernie would have been able to pull it off if he hadn't already won three majors? The pressure would've been that much more if he was trying to get his first.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Who is the best player without a major?

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