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Tiger Woods says he’s in favor of banning belly putters

The USGA and R&A were already looking into changing the rules with regards to the belly putter, but on Tuesday afternoon, Tiger Woods decided to give his opinion on golf's most controversial club, telling the assembled golf scribes at Pebble Beach that he wasn't in favor of the putter being a part of the game going forward.

"I've never been a fan of [anchoring the putter]," Woods said. "I believe it's the art of controlling the body and club and swinging the pendulum motion. I believe that's how it should be played. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to that."

Woods is certainly a traditionalist. As Devil Ball colleague Shane Bacon noted Tuesday, the former No. 1-ranked player used a steel-shafted driver until the 2000's, passing over the chance to use new-age equipment, so he's clearly never been the guy at the forefront of change.

So what does the future hold for flat sticks? If you ask Woods, it's a professional golf world where the putter would be the shortest club in your bag. So long, belly putter!

"My idea was to have it so that the putter would be equal or less than the shortest club in your bag. And I think with that we'd be able to get away from any type of belly anchoring. You can still anchor the putter like Bernhard Langer did — against the form. But that's still the art of swinging the club at the same time."

Following Keegan Bradley's win at the 2011 PGA Championship, interest in the club skyrocketed, as recreational golfers around the world started to put the long, flat stick in their bag. The buzz for the belly putter has been incredible in the last six months, so much so that some of golf's best putters dabbled with it at one time or another -- including Phil Mickelson.

Even though the belly putter hasn't turned everyone into Jack Nicklaus on the putting green, the ability to anchor the club has taken some of the skill out of one of the most difficult parts of the game. By giving a professional -- especially one fighting a balky putter -- the chance to anchor the club to his body, you're essentially giving them an out -- or a way for them to fix their problems with a longer club.

Some might disagree, but I definitely think there's a place for the belly putter ... but it's not in professional golf.

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