On this day, In 1991 Rocco Mediate becomes the 1st PGA Tour winner using a long putter

Mediate
Rocco Mediate in 2010 still using the long putter.

In 1991 Rocco Mediate became the 1st PGA Tour winner using a long putter winning the Doral-Ryder Open

Rocco Mediate… known probably best for battling Tiger Woods at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines made history on this day.  It was during the Doral-Ryder Open, where Jack Nicklaus stole the show in the second round, shooting a 63 at age 50.  After Nicklaus followed up the 63 with mediocre rounds, the stage was set for Mediate.  He simply outlasted Curtis Strange in a playoff to take top honors and his first PGA Tour win.

Present day the rules have been altered to ban the long putter and the anchor style that comes with it.  That being said, Lets go through a short history of the long putter.  It was first unveiled not he Pro circuit in the 70’s and 80’s but no one found critical success using it until the last 20 years.

History of the Long Putter

By:  The New York Times

JUNE 8, 1965 A patent for a body-pivot putter is issued to Richard T. Parmley.

JAN. 24-27, 1985 Johnny Miller unveils a 48-inch long putter that he rests against his left forearm at the Los Angeles Open, where he ties for 50th.

Charlie Owens
Charlie Owens

FEB. 9, 1986 Charlie Owens, an Army paratrooper turned professional golfer, wins the Treasure Coast Classic on the Senior Tour using his own creation, a 52-inch putter he anchors to his sternum.

FEB. 1, 1987 Miller tops Payne Stewart by a stroke to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with his long putter.

JULY 2, 1989 Orville Moody wins the United States Senior Open using a 50-inch putter that he tucks to his chest, just under his chin.

AUG. 26, 1989 The United States Golf Association approves the use of long putters, deciding the club is not detrimental to the game. Moody had threatened legal action if the club was banned. At the time, Mark Lye is the only PGA Tour player using one. 

MARCH 4, 1991 Rocco Mediate, using a 49-inch putter that he anchors to his sternum, wins the Doral-Ryder Open in a playoff against Curtis Strange to become the first tour event winner to use a putter that he anchors to his body.

JAN. 16, 2000 Paul Azinger, using a 54-inch putter that he presses to his sternum, wins the Sony Open by seven shots. It is his first win since the 1993 P.G.A. Championship.

MAY 20, 2004 Trevor Immelman, using a long putter, leads Ernie Els by two strokes after the first round of a tournament in Germany. When asked about long putters, Els says: “They definitely should be banned. I believe nerves and the skill of putting are part of the game.” In an informal poll by a British reporter on the practice green, 17 of 25 players say they would vote in favor of a ban.

AUG. 26, 2007 Colt Knost wins the United States Amateur at Olympic Club in San Francisco using a belly putter.

APRIL 12, 2009 Ángel Cabrera uses a 39-inch putter that he does not anchor against his body to win the Masters, becoming the first player to win a major using a long putter

Keegan Bradley at the P.G.A.
Keegan Bradley at the P.G.A.

AUG. 7, 2011 Adam Scott uses a 49-inch putter that he anchors below his chin to win the Bridgestone Invitational.

AUG. 14, 2011 At the P.G.A. Championship, Keegan Bradley becomes the first golfer using a long putter anchored to his body (his navel) to win a major.

SEPT. 2-5, 2011 Phil Mickelson, considered one of the tour’s most deft putters, experiments with a long putter at the Deutsche Bank Championship, makes one putt longer than 15 feet all week and finishes tied for ninth.

SEPT. 13, 2011 Brad Faxon, as one of the top putters, tells The Associated Press he had ordered a long putter: “It’s like the two-handed backhand in tennis. Twenty years ago, it was not the norm. Now it’s the better way to go. The belly putter and the long putter are going to trend that way.”

SEPT. 25, 2011 Bill Haas wins the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup title using a belly putter.

JUNE 17, 2012 Webb Simpson, using a belly putter, wins the United States Open

JULY 22, 2012 Els, using a belly putter, wins the British Open for his first major title in a decade.

JULY 23, 2012 Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, one of golf’s governing bodies, addresses long putters: “You’re going to see us saying something about it one way or the other in a few months rather than years.”

NOV. 1, 2012 In an interview with Golfweek, “I’m going to do whatever I have to do to protect myself and the other players on tour. I look at it as a whole, as us all together.” Bradley said. “I don’t look at it as much about myself. I think that for them to ban this after we’ve done what we’ve done is unbelievable.”

NOV. 4, 2012 Guan Tianlang, 14, wins the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship using a belly putter and earns an invitation to the Masters; he is set to become the youngest participant in the tournament’s history.

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