Carl Pettersson Speaks up on the Belly Putter Debate

By: Tenna Merchent on January 3rd, 2013

Mike Merchent, Director of Golf here at Purgatory Golf Club is concerned that our, and really my, vocal stance against the banning of the belly putter may cause our club difficulty with the USGA in the long run. So I want to be clear, it is me, Tenna Merchent, that is voicing these objections. I can’t tell you how much it creeps me out to go out on this limb. But sometimes, you need to speak up.

There’s an article on the PGA website today where Carl Pettersson says the banning anchored strokes feels like a ”witch hunt.” I understand his statement. It does seem silly that they are banning it now because it has become so popular. That logic, well, it’s not logical.

Mr. Pettersson believes that the USGA & the R&A are doing this because 3 of the last 5 major champions using a belly putter. He further points out that the anchored belly putter is the only one he has used for his whole 10-year career on the PGA Tour. He’s going to have to learn to putt all over again. That doesn’t seem fair.

Some of the famous players in golf (like Tiger Woods) believe that anchoring provides an unfair advantage. I don’t agree, if it does, why don’t more people do it?

Then there are the amateurs on-line that are saying things like anchoring is cheating, and someone even yelled that out at a player during a tournament recently. One of the things I have always treasured about golf is it is a sport of gentlemen, and ladies. I would like to see us return to those roots. Where we treat each other with respect, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and allow creativity in the game of golf, and the golf swing.

Apparently PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem will not comment until a players’ meeting two weeks from now at Torrey Pines. I know many people are concerned that the PGA Tour will decide to diverge from the USGA on this matter and make their own rules. I personally hope the PGA Tour does say no to the USGA, because I want the USGA to change their position. So, now we wait to see what Mr. Finchem decides.


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2 Responses

  1. Jeffery Passage says:

    If it’s a sanctioned event, then play by the rules. Shoot, my father in law still putts croquet style. For the recreational golfer, I say “putt however you want.” In baseball, the American League uses the designated hitter while the National League does not. Canadian and American football rules are different. Basketball courts, from high school to college to the NBA, are different lengths and different time periods. So, I would encourage the PGA and the Euro Tour to write its own rules of competition.

  2. Tenna Merchent says:


    Thank you as always for your thoughtful comments. That’s great that your father still putts croquet style. Great observation on the different rules based on level of play in other sports, it puts it in perspective.