Where Would J.B. Holmes Be Without That Belly?

One word: Fugly.

But hey, if the bombs are dropping, who cares if your putter looks like a branding iron?

In 2006, it was the prodigious length off the tee of J.B. Holmes that dominated discussion following his surprising win at the FBR Open. This year, his putting _ or at least his putter _ deserves the lion’s share of the attention.
Forget, for a moment, the fact that it looks like a chunk of airplane wreckage. if youve been resisting the temptation to try out the belly putter, your resolve just took another direct hit. [photopress:Monza_Spider.jpg,full,alignright]

From what I saw, J.B. putted like a magician on the weekend, making a lot and missing the rest by only the slimmest of margins. When he stood over some of those putts, you got the distinct sense that he simply wasnt going to miss. It was jarring when he did.

The TaylorMade Rossa Spider he was stroking so smoothly might well be a terrific putter, even if it is one of the ugliest hunks of metal on the PGA Tour. But I think the magic is all in the belly.

If Sergio Garcia had made that putt on the 18th at Carnoustie last year to win the Open Championship, I might well have taken the plunge by now. Ive fiddled around with belly putters on occasion, and I’m warming to the idea of an oversized flat stick that I can jab into my sternum. It can’t help but reduce the likelihood of operator error _ especially if your current putter has a tendency to go off in your hands.
I put it in the bag on Tuesday, so I’ve just kind of been fiddling around with putters and trying to find something that I like, Holmes said in an interview Friday.
I had a couple putters made, and I putted with it a little bit on the putting green and liked it, so I tried it in a practice round and putted pretty good in the practice round and putted so-so yesterday, but I putted pretty well today.

It was the first PGA Tour win for the Spider, which was the most-played model in the field with nine. Twelve of the things were in play at the Buick Invitational. Gary McCord made a crack about it on Saturday: “I gotta get me one of those,” or words to that effect.

Others who put the Spider in play this week included TaylorMade Staffers Joe Ogilvie, Pat Perez, Sean OHair, Michael Allen, Peter Lonard, Dean Wilson and Tim Petrovic. Dunno how many of those were bellies.

It’ll take a putter thats the right length but doesnt look like a Flash Gordon villain for me to go to the belly. Thats one of the biggest challenges with belly putters “ they have to fit, and not just your eye. If theyre a half-inch too short or too long, youre going to know it right away.
Hmmm. Sounds like a fun research project . . .

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James McCarten

When James McCarten isn't at the Ottawa offices of The Canadian Press, where he works as parliamentary news editor, he's either on the golf course or putting off his latest freelance golf-writing gig to spend time with wife Lisa and school-age kids Claire and Lucas. With 20 years of experience in Canadian journalism, James also suffers from a financially crippling addiction to all things Scotty Cameron.

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