By Pete Iacobelli
The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Ga. — It’s no coincidence that Adam Scott has played better in majors since finding consistency on the putting greens — and he credits his anchored putting stroke for the improvement.
Scott has finished tied for second and eighth the past two years on Augusta National’s lightning-fast greens since switching to a long putter. He’s been among the top 15 in six of the past eight major events, including his disappointing second-place at the British Open after leading by four strokes with four holes to play. Scott, though, thinks his regular appearance among the leaders on golf’s biggest venue is because of his steadier putting.
“You’ve hit the nail on the head there,” he said Tuesday. “It’s the consistency with it that makes me putt that way.”
Scott understands his time with the anchored stroke is running out. The USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club, golf’s ruling bodies, proposed a ban on such strokes last fall. Of the major golf organizations around the world, the PGA Tour and PGA of America are the only groups who have spoken out against the ban, which would not take effect until 2016.
Scott isn’t happy his style of choice is under attack. He’s spoken about it several times. “I believe they are making a mistake and that’s been well documented,” he said. “But, hey, they are going to do what they are going to do, I guess, and we’ll see how the other powers that be respond.”
Until he’s told differently, Scott will keep using the stroke when the Masters starts Thursday that’s been so effective for him in recent years. The Masters is one major left where a player using a belly putter or broom-handle putter pressed against the chest has not won. Three of the last five major champions used a belly putter — Keegan Bradley at the 2011 U.S. PGA Championship, Webb Simpson at the 2012 U.S. Open and Ernie Els at the 2012 British Open.
He had his chances each of the last two years here, especially in 2011 when he held a one-stroke lead Sunday standing on the 17th tee. He made pars on the two closing holes, yet was left disappointed when Charl Schwartzel of South Africa birdied the final four holes in one of the greatest Masters’ finishes of all-time.
“There was not much else for me to do other than birdie the last four holes, also, like Charl did,” Scott joked. “I’ve watched a lot of Masters, seen a lot of finishes (and) when you’re a one-shot lead on 17 and you make two fours, that usually puts you somewhere in a playoff or maybe win. But I wasn’t even close.”
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