Mickelson considers going belly up at TPC Boston

Updated: 2011-09-02 10:59


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Mickelson considers going belly up at TPC Boston
Phil Mickelson tees off on the third hole during the first round of The Barclays golf tournament in Edison, New Jersey Aug 25, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

NORTON, Massachusetts - Taking a leaf out of fellow American Keegan Bradley's book, Phil Mickelson sprang a surprise on the eve of this week's Deutsche Bank Championship by using a belly putter in the pro-am competition.

Bradley became the first player to win a major title with a long putter at last month's PGA Championship in Atlanta and Mickelson thought he would give it a try at the TPC Boston on Thursday.

"I just got it (the putter) Monday," four-times major winner Mickelson told reporters while preparing for Friday's opening round.

"Last week I didn't have any idea about the idiosyncrasies of it, and I played with Keegan Bradley and I asked him a bunch of questions.

"It's awkward to me, but so many guys have had success with it that I thought I'd give it a try," added Mickelson, who has been a mentor to Bradley this year.

Other than Bradley, Australian Adam Scott and American Webb Simpson have won PGA Tour events recently with long putters.

Their success has helped persuade some players to abandon the traditional short putter and switch to the longer version which has been viewed suspiciously by many in the past.


Long option

After using the belly putter on Thursday, Mickelson said he was seriously considering leaving the club in his bag for Friday's first round.

"Probably, yeah, probably," the 41-year-old added. "I was a little shady with it on the front nine today but a little bit better with it on the back.

"I don't mind trying new things. I've hit two drivers and no drivers in (US) Opens, and I don't mind trying something different. We'll see."

Mickelson has long been regarded as one of the best short-game exponents on tour but he has struggled on the greens this year, ranking 89th in the PGA Tour's total putting charts and 84th from inside 10 feet.

Scott, who won last month's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club with a long putter, seems to have officially started a trend.

"I heard a rumour this morning that he had a long putter, but I haven't seen it," the Australian said of Mickelson's strategy on the greens for the pro-am.

"I might have to see it to believe it. That's the thing. It's the fad at the moment, so why not?"