Padraig Harrington shot, a not so impressive, opening-round of 80 at the Wells Fargo Championship yesterday. So you might be wandering why a there were a number of journalists waiting for him when he finished…

Well, it wasn’t about the score, it was about the use if a particular club.

At a time when many golfers are distancing themselves from the anchored putting due to the proposed ban by the USGA and R&A, the three time Major Champion had a belly putter in his bag for the first time ever during a tournament!

“I took it out last week,” he explained. “Mechanically, everything I do with my putting stroke is better with the belly putter than without it.”

This sort of makes sense, but not when you take into account that Harrington is completely against the anchored putting technique being legal.

“I don’t support the belly putter,” he said. “I think it’s bad for the game of golf.”

Sorry…come again?

That’s like a vegetarian gorging on a bacon roll because it tastes good.

Perhaps he has taken the advice of, South African, Ernie Els who, two years ago, stated: “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

So there was Harrington, prodding the butt end of that putter into his midsection and hitting away a total of 32 times on the way to shooting an 80 – however that wasn’t without the slight whiff of irony every time he prodded the ball toward the hole.

“The R&A support the rules of golf, and it’s well within the rules,” maintained Harrington, who serves as an ambassador to the R&A. “If I hit it into the middle of the trees and I’m stuck behind it and I’m in trouble and I get free relief off the cart path, I’m going to take it. There is no doubt.”


By the looks of it we’ll be watching Harrington use a belly putter during The Open at Muirfield in June. However he won his two previous Open Championship with the use of a regular sized flat-stick.


“I had picked up the belly putter in the past and have always hated it, but when I put it on the analysis, everything came out better,” he explained. “So that encouraged me to get over the ‘I don’t like the feel of this’ because I accelerate better, and I do so many things better with it.

“Before it was a feel thing. Now I’m saying, well, I can get through the feel thing. If it’s going to be a better putting stroke, why not?”

The Irishman compared it to the regulations that had forbidden square grooves three years ago.

“As much as the grooves cost me dearly, not having the box grooves, I know nobody wants to talk about that now. Six months after they were gone, nobody talked about it. It will be the same with the putter. Once it’s banned, six months later everybody will move on.”

What Harrington says will probably be true, but the planned ban wouldn’t happen until 1st January 2016. Padraig will be 44 by this time! He seems to have decided that if he needs to get the most out his prime years. So he’s going to take that opportunity – whether he agrees with it or not.

“You know, 3 1/2 years is a long time of golf,” said the three-time major champion. “[That’s] 15 majors. I could have Jack [Nicklaus’] record by the end.”

Ok so his mathematics may have been wrong – there are actually only 11 majors from now until the 1st January 2016 – but Padraig’s choice is clear. He’d rather “cheat” with a belly putter than cheat himself from potentially adding to his three Major Titles!