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GolfTube: Belly putters, Hall of Fame debate, and the mic jinx

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Sizing up the TV coverage from The Zurich Classic of New Orleans ... and away we go.

The long putter has drawn the ire of countless players on the PGA Tour for many years. Sure, there's nothing in the tour's rule book about using the putter, but it definitely gives you an advantage when you can anchor the club to your body and get that much more control.

After Carl Pettersson rolled in a lengthy birdie putt with the long putter, on Thursday, the Golf Channel crew decided to discuss the flat stick, and the recent surge in the number of players switching from a conventional putter to the longer version.

"A lot of talk about these big putters lately, with Ernie Els having gone to [the long putter]. He admits to having been slightly embarrassed. But if you look around, lots of guys have been having success with it," Rich Lerner said.

"The big question here is what do you make of all the guys using long putter and belly putter and putting so well. You don't see any of them putting poorly. Would you putt poorly and putt with a belly putter? You wouldn't take the abuse, would you?" Brandel Chamblee joked, before getting serious about the topic.

"Should you be able to anchor a putter to your body?" Chamblee asked. "It's one of the things the USGA missed. You're actually anchoring the putter, and I think it takes a lot of the skill away."

As if almost on cue, the network's cameras watched in horror as John Rollins three-putted from inside one foot, as the discussion went on. "That might be the shortest distance anybody has ever three-putted from on the PGA tour," Chamblee said.

Rollins' putter of choice? Let's just say it wasn't a belly putter.

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The Golf Channel mic'd up jinx

Two weeks after Kevin Na posted a 16, the highest score on a par 4 in PGA Tour history, while wearing a Golf Channel mic, Rich Beem decided to tempt fate by wearing the mic in Thursday's first round.

Of course, his round didn't get off to a great start, as Beem recorded a double- and triple-bogey in his first six holes, which led to this conversation with his caddie as he walked out of the woods on the 6th hole: "I tell ya, I wouldn't want to be the next guy that's mic'd up," Beem said. "The whole Kevin Na situation, I think everybody's gonna want to shy away from it."

It was some interesting insight from the former PGA Championship winner. Whether other players feel the same way is unclear, but Beem seems to think the mic could be an issue in the future.

But what if the mic is just a jinx? Na posts his worst round of the year wearing it, and Beem shoots 77-78 to finish near the bottom of the leaderboard at the Zurich. Coincidence that both were wearing the mic? I think not.

Bizarre swings

If we've learned something over the years from watching some of the best players on tour, it's that your swing doesn't have to be pretty to make a lot of money. Jim Furyk and Tommy Gainey are two names that come to mind when you think of current guys with unconventional swings, that have made a nice living this year.

But in the history of the game, who has the most bizarre swing?

"Miller Barber," Gary McCord said. "I was playing golf with him a couple of days ago and I said, 'Miller, you need to get rid of that flying elbow.' He's 80 right now. He'd be right there with one of the [most bizarre] swings in the game; but he'd also be there as one of the funniest, too."

Peter Oosterhuis, who spent much of his time on the European Tour, gave his vote to Irishman Eamonn Darcy: "There was a lot going on there," Oosterhuis said. "A lot of adjustments in that golf swing."

And the winner for the most bizarre swing on the PGA Tour? "The most bizarre swing I think I ever saw on the PGA Tour ... you know, Jim Furyk, when he took it outside and really looped it, that was as bizarre as I've ever seen," McCord said.

The one thing all three of these gentleman have in common? All have at least 15 professional wins in their golf careers.

Predicting the future for David Toms

Like a lot of one-time major winners, David Toms hasn't lived up to the expectations that were placed on him after his PGA Championship victory. Now 44 years old and nearing the back end of his PGA Tour career, the Brandless Chamblee tried to put Toms' career in perspective during Friday second round, while trying to decide if he deserved a place in the Hall of Fame.

"I was looking at his career back in '06 and thinking he was headed right to the Hall of Fame with a major championship, and he was probably going to get 18 or 20 wins and have a career similar to Davis Love III. But just like that, the floodgates closed," Chamblee said.

"He's really flushing it this year, and he's swinging just like he did five or six years ago. Of course, he's now 44. You wonder how many more good years he has in him; getting six or seven more wins would certainly make him a candidate [for the Hall of Fame]."

If 16 wins and a major championship don't get you into the Hall of Fame, then what exactly does it take? Funny you should ask.

The great Hall of Fame debate

The rules for joining the Hall of Fame have changed since Tiger Woods captured his first major championship at the Masters in 1997. With Woods holding court over the golf world, players had to fight tooth and nail for victories when Woods was in the field.

"Brandel, what do you think it'll take in the "Tiger era" to get into the Hall of Fame? Is 15 or 20 wins and a major that benchmark?" Lerner asked.

"They put people in the Hall of Fame every year, so I'm not sure about that," Chamblee said. "But 15 or 16 wins and a major championship is probably right, plus other credentials like if you played in the Ryder Cup, how high you reached in the World Rankings, your impact on the game."

Interjecting, Lerner gave his own opinion: "I think you need a little more than 15 [wins] and 1 [major championship]."

"Certainly Jim Furyk is right there at 15 wins and a major championship, but he also played in all those Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams, so it'll be interesting to see if he gets in," Peter Kostis said. "But I agree, they do have to put people in every year."

"It took Lanny [Wadkins] forever to get in, and he had 21 wins and one major with a great amateur record," said Chamblee, who got the last word in on the Hall of Fame debate. "It's a decision-making process that doesn't necessarily give fairer criteria to everybody. They consider some things heavier than others. The nice guy in the world, Ben Crenshaw, he goes straight in; Lanny Wadkins record certainly deserved to get in a lot quicker than he did get in."

So what does it take to get in? I'm not sure, but apparently everyone in the booth had their own set of qualifications for getting inducted.

Faldo takes Westwood to task over Players snub

CBS isn't broadcasting The Players Championship, but it was hard to tell if that was the case during Sunday's final round, when Nick Faldo quietly ripped Lee Westwood for skipping The Players to play abroad, and took a small dig at Rory McIlroy, as well.

"[Lee] Westwood is making a lot of interesting decisions not coming over for the Players, which I think is strange, really. I know there's money around the world, but the Players is the Players ... it's the best field on tour. It's the unofficial fifth major. I would have thought that's important. I'd rather have a picture of me winning the Players, than a check from somewhere around the world," Faldo said.

"I'm very surprised at Rory as well. We have the four major, the four WGC events, and the Players. Those are the biggies around the world."

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