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Golf | Golf Globe

Phil Mickelson © Gallo Images

Long putter ban 'grossly unfair'



American star Phil Mickelson on Wednesday said banning long putters would be "grossly unfair", disagreeing with long-time rival Tiger Woods and adding to the uproar as golf chiefs consider the move.

The four-time Major-winner, who does not use one of the "belly" or "broomstick" putters which are under scrutiny from the sport's rules-making bodies, spoke out before the $6 million Barclays Singapore Open.

"It's not an issue that I'm involved with, I understand both sides. It's just that I don't think you can take away what you've allowed players to use, practise and play with for 30 years. I think it is grossly unfair," he said.

Mickelson's comments contrast with former world No 1 and 14-time Major winner Woods, who wants a ruling that the putter should be the shortest club in the bag.

The row has blown up since Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els all won Major titles in the past two seasons using long putters, which are controversial because they can be steadied against the body.

Last week in China, Bradley did not rule out legal action if a ban is imposed, while in Singapore Australia's Adam Scott, who also uses a long putter, said Woods's views were questionable.

"I am not necessarily sure his views on what putter should be are correct at all – his view that the putter should be the shortest club in the bag has never been a rule of golf. I do not see why it should be now," said Scott.

European Tour chief George O'Grady on Sunday confirmed the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association, which set the rules of golf, have been discussing the move.

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