Faldo stomachs a belly putter

Last updated at 09:20 13 July 2004

Nick Faldo has been practising with a belly putter ahead of the Open - even though he thinks they should have been banned by now.

"I'm amazed it's not been done," said Faldo. "You'd think it would be an easy one for the ruling body to say that you can't anchor a club against your body.

"I think they left it as a sympathy vote for all those who were suffering, but now youngsters are going to them."

The three-time Open champion, who celebrates his 47th birthday on Sunday, has been experimenting with a belly putter for more than two months and is set to pick one in his bag on arrival at Royal Troon.

Putting options

But caddie Fanny Sunesson was also seen with a short one later, so the decision on which to go with in Thursday's first round, when he partners defending champion Ben Curtis, may still lie ahead.

The issue of belly and long putters was a hot topic of debate in May when South African Trevor Immelman, inspired by watching world number three Vijay Singh win, put one in his bag and won second time out.

Ernie Els said he thought there was no place for them in the game because they did not test a golfer's nerve as much as conventional ones.

"I am sure a lot of guys are going to be angry with me," said Els. "It's just my view and that's that."

It is also Tiger Woods' view - and many others. A Press Association poll at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany in May had 17 out of 25 players in favour of a ban.

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