Lytham - Gary Player says that unless two rules of golf are changed, the game will be ruined.
The nine-time major champion wants the belly putter banned and the ball “reined in”. Player - and he is supported in this view by world No 1 Luke Donald - reckons the broomhandle putter, like the one wielded by Adam Scott, must go for the sake of the integrity of the game, because they give players an unfair advantage.
“Coming down the last few holes when guys are nervy and a bit yippy, they take the long putter and anchor it against their body, and there’s no more shaking,” Player said.
“Ernie Els says that it’s really cheating but it’s a rule, so people use it and so does Ernie.”
Officials will discuss the issue in months rather than years, Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said on Monday.
“The situation is that the R&A and the USGA do have this subject firmly back on the radar,” Dawson said. “I think you’re going to see us saying something about it one way or the other in a few months, rather than years,” added Dawson.
The 76-year-old maestro also says that, due to modern technology, the ball is flying too far and making courses obsolete.
“There are guys today who can drive the ball 400 yards.
“That means they can stand on the first tee of the Old Course at St Andrews and carry the ball (over the burn) and on to the green. And par-5s can become a drive and a short iron. It just doesn’t seem right.
“The R&A say the game is the same for everybody, but it is not.
“I say let the amateurs - the club golfers - have all the technology to help them have fun. But pro golf needs to have the ball reined back by 50 yards.”
Player said he spoke to about 50 people at Lytham and most of them said they wanted to see big hitters like Els, Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson take a driver off the tee. “But they’re thumping irons. It’s all because the ball flies too far.”