GLENEAGLES, Scotland – American Annie Park didn’t abandon the long putter when the Rules of Golf outlawed anchoring.
In fact, she didn’t commit herself to the broomstick until after the ban was established in 2016.
Because she was desperate.
Park said she might not be on the U.S. Solheim Cup team taking on Europe this week if not for the long putter.
“To be honest, in 2017 I was going to quit golf,” Park said. “I was thinking about possible other professions that I wanted to do.”
Park, winner of the NCAA individual title while at USC in 2013, was struggling with a back injury and swing changes and lost full LPGA status at the end of the 2017 season. That’s when a friend recommended she try the long putter.
Six months later, Park won the ShopRite Classic for her first LPGA title.
The USGA and R&A never banned the putter. They just banned bracing the putter against the body.
“The long putter was kind of the turning point in my career,” Park said. “I went from almost quitting golf to winning a golf event, and this week making it to the Solheim. So, it's huge.”
Park is the only player using a long putter in the Solheim Cup. She might be the only full-time LPGA pro still using one. She is 21st in putting average on tour this year. She was 158th the year before she began using the long putter.
Park can’t definitively say why her putting came together with the broomstick. She just knows putts began falling shortly after she made the switch.
“I kind of clicked from that instant,” she said.