This blog was posted before the Sunday final at the British Open but it probably wouldn’t affect its content.
By now everybody knows Steve Williams used to be Tiger Woods’ caddie and is currently on Adam Scott’s bag. Since sportswriters need story lines beside the obvious (as well they should, it’s hard writing a different story every day), it was pretty well known that everybody covering the British Open was hoping Scott and Woods would be paired for today’s final. Imagine the elephant in the room, or on the course, during the final day. And the questions that would inevitably asked at the press conference.
The truth of the matter is that when Williams was Woods’ caddie, Tiger was the best player in the world. Was Stevie the reason? No one can be sure but Woods sure won a lot. And now Williams is caddying for Scott and he’s playing some impressive golf. So how important is the caddie? Those in the know claim that beyond Stevie’s knowledge of courses and club selection, he can have a calming effect on his boss. This certainly is a trait that could serve Scott well on the final day.
But what really gives Scott a greater edge is his putter. These guys are so good that every golfer is looking for some little advantage that might shave a stroke here or there. The belly putter was first on the scene. Its purpose was to provide a fulcrum pivot the club around. Then came the long putter (as if one that goes up to your belly isn’t long enough). This version is parked under the golfer’s chin or chest. These inventions take wrist movement out of the putt.
It seems there are two camps when the subject of long putters comes up. The first are the revolutionaries, or as the second group thinks of them, “the guys who couldn’t handle or win enough with a conventional putter.” The traditionalists think long putters should be banned. Golf is a little different. Imagine calling penalties on yourself in another sport? Golfers don’t use pine tar on bats and in gloves. They don’t grab the guy at the bottom of the pile to make him loosen his grip on the football. Golfers are the ultimate anti-floppers. And there’s the major difference between camps one and two.
One feels they’re just using modern technology; the other thinks it’s an unfair advantage. Golf is caught up in the quote:
“There’s no progress without change but not all change is progress.”