1900s: Just how far back does anchored putting go? This photo, famously tweeted by Keegan Bradley from Riviera this year, shows an early 1900s golfer using a putting stroke that looks very much like Bradley’s.
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1920s: Not kegeling. Diegeling. That’s what opponents call the odd putting stance adopted by Detroit-born golf pro Leo Diegel. Sure looks funny, but he wins two majors with it (the ’28 and ’29 PGA Championships). Diegel is pictured left giving a lesson to actress Jean Harlow in 1932.
3 of 21U.S. Patent Office
1965: Richard T. Parmley acquires a patent for what is described as a “body-pivot” putter. Let’s cut the fancy lingo. It’s a belly putter.
4 of 21Phil Meth/Sports Illustrated
1966: Reporting on the play of Tour pro Phil Rodgers, the Associated Press says: “Rodgers uses the handle of his putter against his stomach and spreads his hand apart before taking his stroke” with a 39.5-inch anchored putter. He wins twice on Tour that year.
5 of 21Walter Iooss Jr./Sports Illustrated
1968: “We made the decision with great reluctance,” USGA exec Joe Dey tells Sports Illustrated. “But we felt it was the only way to eliminate the unconventional styles that have developed in putting. The game of golf was becoming bizarre. It was some other game, part croquet, part shuffleboard.” He is speaking of the USGA’s ban on croquet-style putting. Not good news for Sam Snead, who putts that way.
6 of 21Jacqueline Duvoisin/SI
1986: Yip-addled Charlie Owens of the Champions Tour employs a 51-inch putter that he anchors to his sternum. He dubs the putter “Slim Jim.” He wins twice with it that year.
7 of 21J.D. Cuban
1987: Johnny Miller, who never met a putt he couldn’t yip, wins the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with a long putter that he braces against his forearm, a putting style he’s been toying with throughout the decade.
8 of 21Jacqueline Duvoisin/SI
1989: The golf world salutes the Sarge, Orville Moody, who wins the U.S. Senior Open while relying on a long putter. Later that summer, the USGA approves the use of long putters. Says USGA executive director David Fay: “Putting is a very individualized art form. To inhibit a golfer’s individual style would take some fun out of the game.”
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Early '90s: Commander in Cheat? George H.W. Bush relies on a 52-inch Pole Kat long-putter during relaxing presidential rounds.
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1991: The butt of his putter pressed against his sternum, Rocco Mediate captures the Doral Open – the first player to win on Tour with an anchored stroke.
11 of 21Jacqueline Duvoisin/SI
1993: Bernhard Langer, his battles with the yips well documented, wins a fight against his demons – and a second green jacket – when he triumphs at Augusta, using a forearm-brace-style putting very much like Miller’s.
12 of 21Robert Beck/SI
2000: “I was instantly better,” Paul Azinger says, after using a long putter to win the Sony Open, his first Tour victory in six-plus years.
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2003-2004: Alternating among a range of putting styles, Vijay Singh wins nine times on Tour. But his three majors (’98, 2000, and ’04) are all won the old-fashioned way.
14 of 21Robert Beck/SI
2007: Sergio Garcia misses a 6-foot putt to win the British Open at Carnoustie, then loses in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. Must be his damn belly putter’s fault.
15 of 21David Walberg/Sports Illustrated
2011: Prior to the start of the season, Adam Scott adopts a broomstick-style putter.
16 of 21Kohjiro Kinno/SI
August 2011: Putter anchored to his navel, Keegan Bradley wins the PGA Championship, the first to seize a major with an anchored putting stroke. Let the grumbling begin anew.
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September 2011: The FedEx Cup (and 10 million bucks) goes to Bill Haas, a long-putter adoptee.
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June 2012: Another major win for the belly-putter-user. This time, it’s Webb Simpson.
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July 2012: The Big Easy, Ernie Els, wins the British Open with a belly-putter, then likens the putting style to cheating. He says he’ll keep at it as long as it’s allowed. Oh, second place? It goes to Adam Scott, with his broomstick stroke.
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February 2013: Saying there’s not enough evidence to suggest that anchored putting actually gives players an advantage, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem says the Tour is opposed to the USGA’s proposed ban.
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April 2013: Adam Scott becomes the first Australia to win the Masters. And the first to triumph at Augusta with an anchored stroke.