Consider all the ways the putter can get off-line during the stroke. Does the grip end start down slightly or up? Does it move away from the body or get pulled back in? If so, the golfer must correct each such wobble or flaw with a corresponding move to make any semblance of a decent stroke. Ray Floyd, Isao Aoki, Hubert Green and Seve Ballesteros each had an unconventional stroke characterized by the putter moving in a bizarre path, and yet they were successful because they had one thing in common: great nerves.
Imagine a putter, or more precisely a method of anchoring the putter against the body, that eliminates those putter-path variables, negating the necessity of great nerves. Such a putter goes by many names: the long putter, the belly putter or the broomstick, and all do the same thing—they provide a third point of contact and create a perfect pendulum stroke.
Of all the things that make us stand in awe of athletic achievement, handling pressure and rising to the moment top the list. Anyone is capable of greatness when the consequences don't matter. It's the shot pulled off or the putt made when no one else can even breathe that makes us jump out of our seats. I remember watching Jack Nicklaus(above) sink the 11-foot putt on the 71st hole of the 1986 Masters and being astonished that he could summon the calm to make that stroke. Imagine if he had done it with a 49-inch putter anchored to his chin. No disrespect to the guys using these anchored wands—they are legal—but they don't belong in professional golf. At all. Ever.
Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year PGA Tour veteran and an analyst for Golf Channel.
FRED VUICH (CHAMBLEE)
PHIL SANDLIN/AP (NICKLAUS)