• Australian Masters

Scott & Poulter at odds over long putter

ESPN staff
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Ian Poulter won the Australian Masters in 2011 © Getty Images
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Three of the biggest names at this week's Australian Masters are in debate over the future of long putters in the sport.

Defending champion Ian Poulter and his European Ryder Cup team-mate Graeme McDowell are both adamant that the longer putters - which anchor to some part of the player's body, creating a 'pivot' that many believes makes putting easier - should be outlawed from the game.

But Adam Scott, who has used the long putter for almost two years, is insistent that the ongoing controversy over the club is unwarranted.

"There's no actual evidence that putting with an anchored putter is better, easier," Scott said on Wednesday. "Or, if it is, I would assume everyone would be doing it.

"It's not just about the professional game either, it's about the game in general, and we don't want to be turning people away from the game of golf because of the way they putt."

McDowell disputed Scott's assessment, however - revealing that United States Golf Association chief Mike Davis had told him that tests had underlined an advantage to using a long putter.

"They're convinced the research has shown that under pressure on a Sunday afternoon the long putter just kind of takes one extraneous movement out of the putting stroke," McDowell said.

"I think it's probably something they're disappointed in themselves that it's got to this point. They probably should have nipped it in the bud many, many years ago."

Poulter, the defending champion this week at Kingston Heath, was more strident in his criticism.

"Ban it. End of story," Poulter said. "I mean, don't anchor the butt end of the club. It's simple, right?"

Scott has enjoyed his successes with the long putter in recent times - contending at the 2011 Masters, and nearly winning the 2012 Open Championship before collapsing at the death - but is on the cusp of his first winless year on tour since 2000.

"I enjoyed the whole [Open] experience thoroughly and, looking back, I just take so many positives from what I did right that week," the Australian said. "Obviously the result was not what I was expecting with an hour or so to play, but there's always going to be a lesson to be learned from that.

"I don't think it's harmed me at all. I think it was a great experience and all I can say, it's more of a motivator than anything for me to get back and have another shot at it."

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