Howell favours putter rule change

Swindon's David Howell

Swindon's David Howell

First published in Sport by

DAVID Howell has waded into the putter debate by revealing he hopes proposed rule changes are pushed through.

The Royal & Ancient Club and US Golf Association want restrictions on the longer club which would mean players were banned from anchoring strokes to a pivot point.

Extended putters would still be permitted in tournament play but only in performing a free swing away from the body, meaning those currently using broomhandle or belly putters would be affected.

Swindon’s Howell, who uses the traditional shorter version so would be unaffected directly, is in favour of a ban.

“I’m one of those that thinks it should never have really been allowed. My own view is it’s not quite how putting is supposed to be,” he said.

“There are a lot of nerves in putting and that’s very often the hard bit at professional level.

“Anchoring the club probably gives a slight advantage.

“I’ve always thought it’s not quite right and I’d be more than happy to see it banned, although that’s not a good thing for the guys that do use them.

“In theory it should help me because guys that do use it would be at a disadvantage, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as big an issue as is being made out.”

The Broome Manor pro is back in action at the inaugural Tshwane Open in South Africa today as he plays for the first time in nearly three weeks.

The 37-year-old last played at the Pearls Golf Premier League in India and has used the interim period to recover from a neck and shoulder issue at home in Dubai.

Having got round a passport and visa issue that prevented him from arriving in South Africa until midnight on Tuesday, Howell is relishing the chance to get out on the course at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate in Centurion.

“We’re here for the first time so no one knows what it’s like,” he said.

“It’s a big course as they tend to be over here and was designed by Ernie Els.

“I’ve had a funny build-up but I’ve been playing well for months and have no reason to feel any different this week.”

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