Friday, February 12, 2016

Langer doesn't miss anchored putter as he 

shoots 11 birdies at Chubb Classic

Bernhard Langer
Bernhard Langer ( Associated Press )
NAPLES, Florida – So much for all the doom and gloom that Bernhard Langer suddenly would go to pieces without an anchored putter. The German poured in 11 birdies – one off the US PGA Champions Tour record – en route to a 10-under 62 and a four stroke lead over Jay Haas after the first round of the Chubb Classic.
“He’s like a Rolls Royce,” Jim Thorpe said. “He just keeps rolling along.”
Langer fiddled with two putters last night and again this morning on the practice putting green before deciding to stick with the long putter and employing a legal, unanchored stroke.
“It was the right decision, I think,” he said.
Langer, who is seeking his 26th title on the over-50 circuit, took just 23 putts today and had two separate strings of five birdies in a row in tying the low first-round score here. He missed two putts from 6 feet or less, but countered with a 35-footer on 9 and a 40-footer at 17 for birdies.
“That’s a pretty amazing round,” Haas said, “I don’t care what course you’re playing on.
When Langer used the broomstick in Hawaii in January, some observers thought he was making a statement to golfers that the long putter didn’t need to be put out to pasture just because of the anchoring ban, which went into effect Jan. 1 (Rule 14-1b). 
He said he will take advantage of the next month to perfect his craft, and could switch to using the Kuchar grip, which he used to win the 1993 Masters, or a conventional-length putter with an orthodox grip. (The next  Champions Tour event is not until March 18-20.)
“Am I enjoying it? Not really,” he said. “I’ve been putting for hours and hours the last 6 weeks. It’s distracting. All the time I’m putting into putting I could be putting into other things. I wish I didn’t have to change.”
The fact that he still is unsettled suggests none of the strokes is up to his standard – yet. Even after Friday’s sublime performance he remained on the fence about the rest of the tournament.
“There’s a chance I might still practise a little bit with my other putter, the Kuchar-style putter, because that doesn’t feel too bad either, and then decide again tomorrow morning what’s going to happen,” Langer said.



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